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Chavez v. Arte Publico Press

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

February 18, 2000, Decided

No. 93-2881

Opinion

 [***2010]  [*603]   EDITH H. JONES, Circuit Judge:

This Copyright/Lanham Act case has once again been remanded, this time by this Court sitting en banc, for reconsideration in light of the Supreme Court's decisions in Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Educ. Expense Bd. v. College Savings Bank, 527 U.S. 627, 119 S. Ct. 2199, 144 L. Ed. 2d 575 (1999) and College Savings Bank v. Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Educ. Expense Bd., 527 U.S. 666, 119 S. Ct. 2219, 144 L. Ed. 2d 605 (1999). The issue is whether Congress properly exercised its authority to subject states to suit in federal court for violation of those statutes. See 15 U.S.C. § 1122; 17 U.S.C. §§ 501, 511. Plaintiff Chavez asserts that the University of Houston infringed her copyright by continuing to publish her book without her consent and violated the Lanham Act by naming her, also without her permission, as the selector of plays in another book it published. The University of Houston contends that because [**4]  it enjoys immunity from unconsented-to suit in federal court under the Eleventh Amendment, the case must be dismissed. Once again, we agree with the University. 1

] Abrogation of a state's Eleventh Amendment immunity turns on an express statement of intent by Congress and a constitutionally valid exercise of power. See Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 55, 116 S. Ct. 1114, 1123, 134 L. Ed. 2d 252 (1996). Congress amended both [**5]  the Lanham Act and the Copyright Act and explicitly required states to submit to suit in federal court for violation of their provisions; 2 thus, the express statement requirement is fulfilled. The remaining question, to be considered in the light of College Savings, Florida Prepaid, and Kimel v. Fla. Bd. of Regents, 528 U.S. 62, 120 S. Ct. 631, 145 L. Ed. 2d 522, 2000 WL 14165 (2000), is whether Congress had authority to abrogate state sovereign immunity in the Acts.

The first opinion in this case followed the Parden theory that states can impliedly waive their sovereign immunity and,  [*604]  on that basis, held that the University could be sued in federal court for violating the two statutes. See Chavez v. Arte Publico Press, 59 F.3d 539, 547 (5th Cir. 1995) [**6]  [hereinafter Chavez I]; see Parden v. Terminal Ry. Of Ala. State Docks Dep't, 377 U.S. 184, 84 S. Ct. 1207, 12 L. Ed. 2d 233 (1964).

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204 F.3d 601 *; 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 2490 **; 53 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 2009 ***; Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P28,040

DENISE CHAVEZ, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ARTE PUBLICO PRESS, et al., Defendants-Appellants

Subsequent History:  [**1]  As Revised March 10, 2000.

Prior History: Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. CA-H-93-2460. Lynn N Hughes, US District Judge.

Disposition: VACATED and REMANDED with Instructions to DISMISS.

CORE TERMS

infringement, immunity, copyright infringement, state remedy, Hearings, remedied, privileges and immunities clause, patent infringement, federal court, deprivation, violations, legislative history, due process of law, patent

Civil Procedure, Federal & State Interrelationships, State Sovereign Immunity, General Overview, Governments, State & Territorial Governments, Claims By & Against, State Immunity, Constitutional Law, Abrogation of Immunity, Congressional Duties & Powers, Legislation, Interpretation, Fundamental Rights, Procedural Due Process, Scope of Protection, Substantive Due Process, Scope, Computer & Internet Law, Civil Infringement, Defenses, Innocent Intent, Copyright Law, Remedies, Damages, Patent Law, Infringement Actions, Civil Infringement Actions, Elements