Waiver of Sovereign Immunity Cases
The Federal rights protected in of Felder v. Casey (487 US 131) arise under 42 USC 1983 which was enacted pursuant to the enforcement powers granted in section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment which accords far greater power to Congress to override the sovereign immunity of the States than does article I of the US Constitution.
The Supreme Court in Alden v. Maine (527 US 706) specifically recognized the power of Congress to override the sovereign immunity of the States in enforcing the Fourteenth Amendment when it stated (527 US, at 756) as follows:
"We have held also that in adopting the Fourteenth Amendment, the people required the States to surrender a portion of the sovereignty that had been preserved to them by the original Constitution, so that Congress may authorize private suits against nonconsenting States pursuant to its 5 enforcement power. Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U. S. 445 (1976).
By imposing explicit limits on the powers of the States and granting Congress the power to enforce them, the Amendment 'fundamentally altered the balance of state and federal power struck by the Constitution.' Seminole Tribe, 517 U. S., at 59.
When Congress enacts appropriate legislation to enforce this Amendment, see City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U. S. 507 (1997), federal interests are paramount, and Congress may assert an authority over the States which would be otherwise unauthorized by the Constitution."
Indeed, section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment specifically provides that "the Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article." Clearly, under the Alden holding (supra), Congress possesses the authority to abrogate the sovereign immunity of the States in enforcing rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, including the power to vitiate State time limitations which act to burden or impede such rights.
Under Alden, Congress does not have the same power to abridge a State's sovereign immunity when exercising its article I authority in attempting to protect rights created by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Simply put, under the Fourteenth Amendment Congress has the authority to override a State's sovereign immunity in protecting a Federal cause of action while under article I it does not.
As a result, Ahern (supra) provides little guidance in determining the scope of the State's sovereign immunity from suits against it in State court under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
As Alden (supra) specifically holds that it is up to each State to determine under what conditions it consents to waive its sovereign immunity from suit the issue becomes whether compliance with the time limitations set forth in section 10 of the Court of Claims Act constitutes an integral part of the waiver and a condition precedent to the pursuit of Fair Labor Standards Act claims in this court.
When the State consents to suit in a single enactment waiving its sovereign immunity premised upon compliance with time requirements, those time requirements are an integral part of the waiver ( Yonkers Contr. Co. v. Port Auth. Trans-Hudson Corp., 93 NY2d 375).
It is axiomatic " a statute in derogation of the sovereignity [sic] of a State must be strictly construed, waiver of immunity by inference being disfavored" ( Sharapata v. Town of Islip, 56 NY2d 332, 336).