Sovereign Immunity

News & Analysis as of

Courts Continue Trend of Recognizing Tribal Immunity in Bankruptcy Proceedings

Judge Christopher S. Sontchi of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (Court) issued a decision on Feb. 28, 2017, that has important – and positive – significance for Native American tribal governments, their...more

Sovereign Immunity Can Shield State University Research Foundations in PTAB Proceedings

Addressing the application of the sovereign immunity defense under the 11th Amendment in the inter partes review (IPR) context, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) dismissed three IPR petitions, finding that the...more

University patents now immune to inter partes review: Will business come calling?

State colleges and universities recently received a potential increase in the value of their patent portfolios in the form of a ruling from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). ...more

University Invokes Sovereign Immunity to Avoid Patent Invalidation Proceeding

In a recent decision, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the “PTAB”) held that a states’ sovereign immunity applies to patent inter partes review proceedings. Inter partes review is an alternative to traditional litigation...more

PTAB Finds Sovereign Immunity Applies to IPRs for State Universities

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) dismissed three inter partes review (IPR) proceedings involving the University of Florida based on sovereign immunity. As background, the University of Florida Research Foundation...more

Court Affirms Incorporating Federal Labor Laws Into Tribal Code Does Not Waive a Tribe's Sovereign Immunity

On February 21, 2017, a federal court in Wisconsin reaffirmed a tribe's sovereign immunity with respect to Title VII claims of wrongful termination. See Bruguier v. Du Flambeau, 16-cv-604-jdp, (W. Dist Wisc. February 21,...more

State Universities Gain Immunity from IPRs

State Universities Gain Immunity from IPRs - Today, many universities own extensive patent portfolios that are managed by sophisticated tech transfer offices. Universities obtain these patents for many reasons, not the...more

State Universities Rejoice: PTAB Recognizes Sovereign Immunity Defense

In Covidien LP v. University of Florida Research Foundation Inc., the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) upheld a defense of sovereign immunity asserted by the University of Florida Research Foundation (the...more

Licensees Stymied by Sovereign Immunity Both in Federal Court and at PTAB

Licensees Covidien LP, Medtronic PLC, and Medtronic, Inc., failed to obtain any relief, at least so far, in federal court or at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) because of parallel holdings that patent owner...more

"PEMEX and US Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards Nullified in Their 'Home' Courts"

One of the benefits of using arbitration to resolve international disputes is the availability of worldwide mechanisms to enforce an arbitral award. For example, the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement...more

PTAB Applies State Sovereign Immunity in IPR

On January 25, 2017, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board dismissed three petitions filed by Covidien LP challenging U.S. Patent No. 7,062,251 (the “’251 patent”) owned by the University of Florida Research Foundation Inc....more

Court Enforces CFPB Civil Investigative Demand Against Tribal Lending Entity; Rejects Argument that Tribal Sovereignty Precludes...

On January 20, 2017, in CFPB v. Great Plains Lending, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s civil investigative demands for documents from lending...more

PTAB Denies IPR Petition Against the State of Florida Due to 11th Amendment Sovereign Immunity

In Covidien LP v. University of Florida Research Foundation Incorporated, IPR2016-01274, -01275, -01276 (January 2017), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board held that Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity applies to inter partes...more

Employment Law Letter - Winter 2017

For many years there has been disagreement about whether or not employees who bring discrimination claims under Connecticut’s Fair Employment Practices Act can get punitive damages (not just compensatory damages for lost...more

PTAB Dismisses Three IPR Petitions Based on Sovereign Immunity

Covidien LP had a license to U.S. Patent 7,062,251, owned by the University of Florida Research Foundation (UFRF, Patent Owner). UFRF alleged breach of contract by Covidien, and sued Covidien in Florida state court for...more

Important Banking Development From California Courts

Courts in California delivered some important banking developments in two recent decisions, with a federal court finding a charge for failing to replenish an overdrawn account constituted interest while the state's highest...more

Congress Amends FSIA to Protect Art and Cultural Exchanges

Introduction - On December 16, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act (FCEJICA). The bill, which extends sovereign immunity to foreign states that...more

Insurers’ Suit Against Government for Affordable Care Act Payments May Proceed; If Successful, Insurers Entitled to Billions from...

In a closely watched case, the Court of Federal Claims last week refused to dismiss a health insurer’s putative class action against the Federal government for payments authorized under the Affordable Care Act. The Court’s...more

California Supreme Court Declines to Extend Tribal Sovereign Immunity to Payday Lending Businesses

On December 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued People ex rel. Owen v. Miami Nation Enterprises. The decision found that certain tribal business entities that provided loans in California are not "arms of the tribe"...more

Tribal Sovereign Immunity Not a Bar to Payday Lending Enforcement Action, California Supreme Court Rules

In a state enforcement action alleging violations of California's lending law and seeking to enjoin continued lending to state residents, the California Supreme Court has ruled that the two tribally affiliated entities that...more

Plus Feature: Seventh Circuit Affirms Denial of Class Certification on Spokeo Grounds in FACTA Class Action

On December 13, 2016, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a plaintiff’s motion for class certification under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”). In the first federal appellate...more

Virginia Supreme Court Rules Sovereign Immunity Bars Private USERRA Claims Against State Employers in State Court

The Supreme Court of Virginia, in Clark v. Virginia Department of State Police, No. 151857 (Dec. 1. 2016), recently ruled that the doctrine of sovereign immunity barred a private plaintiff’s claim under the Uniformed Services...more

Chris Lazarini Provides Insight on Standards Applied to Pro Se Litigants

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Chris Lazarini provided insight on a case revealing that while less stringent standards are often applied to pro se litigants, courts still should require them to adhere to the procedural rules....more

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Tribal Sovereign Immunity Issue Related to Individual Tribal Employees

The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in Lewis v. Clarke, (No. 15-1500) addressing the issue of whether the sovereign immunity of an Indian Tribe bars individual-damages actions against tribal employees for torts...more

Legislative Opportunities for Tribal Governments Under the Trump Administration

With the advent of a Republican-controlled White House and Congress, many who work in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Indian tribes may be tempted to adopt a defensive posture. But while it always is important to defend tribal...more

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