Alden v. Maine

527 U.S. 706, 119 S. Ct. 2240 (1999)

 

RULE:

The Eleventh Amendment makes explicit reference to the states' immunity from suits commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state. 

FACTS:

Petitioner probation officers filed suit against their employer, respondent, the State of Maine, in federal court. Petitioners alleged that respondent violated the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U.S.C.S. § 201 et seq., and they sought compensation and liquidated damages. The district court dismissed petitioners' action, and the court of appeals and the state supreme court affirmed. 

ISSUE:

Do the powers delegated to Congress under U.S. Const. Art. I include the power to subject nonconsenting states to private suits for damages in state courts?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The Court held that the district court rendered the correct decision; hence, it affirmed the dismissal of the petitioners’ action. The Court reasoned that the powers delegated to Congress under U.S. Const. Art. I did not include the power to subject nonconsenting states to private suits for damages in state courts and that respondent did not consent to suits for overtime pay and liquidated damages under the FLSA.

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