The Fitchik Factors

In Fitchik v. New Jersey Transit Rail Operations, Inc., 873 F.2d 655 (3d Cir.1989) (en banc) the Court set the test that determines whether an agency is entitled to sovereign immunity by balancing three factors: (1) state treasury, (2) status under state law, and (3) autonomy. In Benn v. First Judicial Dist. of Pa., 426 F.3d 233, 239 (3d Cir. 2005), the Court addressed whether the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia's state court system) was entitled to sovereign immunity. The Court noted the funding scheme for this judicial system placed "considerable financial responsibility" on the local counties rather than the state. Benn, 426 F.3d at 240. But more significant was the judicial system's status under state law and its lack of autonomy from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Therefore, the Court concluded "the Fitchik factors strongly favor Eleventh Amendment immunity." Id.