Waiver of Sovereign Immunity Labor Law
The Supreme Court Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706 (1999) went on to hold that the State of Maine had not waived its sovereign immunity with respect to Fair Labor Standards Act claims and, of critical importance in this case, specifically held (527 US, at 758) that:
"To the extent Maine has chosen to consent to certain classes of suits while maintaining its immunity from others, it has done no more than exercise a privilege of sovereignty concomitant to its constitutional immunity from suit."
In the above-quoted language, the United States Supreme Court specifically recognized that a State has the right to determine the parameters of its waiver of sovereign immunity by permitting certain classes of suits while prohibiting others.
At page 2 of its memorandum of law, the State concedes that its waiver of sovereign immunity extends to a claim for wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
It contends, however, that the waiver is conditioned upon compliance with the time limitations for service and filing of a claim contained in sections 10 and 11 of the Court of Claims Act which constitute jurisdictional conditions precedent to an action against the State in the Court of Claims. Citing Felder claimants argue at page 1 of their memorandum of law that where "the State has chosen to subject itself to suit in its courts for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, it cannot mold the contours of the rights conferred by the Act to suit itself."
In Felder v. Casey (487 US 131), an arrestee allegedly beaten during the course of his arrest by police officers employed by the City of Milwaukee failed to meet the requirements of the Wisconsin notice of claim statute in bringing his State court action against the City and certain of the arresting officers under 42 USC 1983.
The Supreme Court held that the Supremacy Clause preempted the Wisconsin notice of claim requirement in a section 1983 action brought in State court.