In federal district court civil lawsuit, I the plaintiff is asking for monetary
relief against a California state agency.The defendant(agency) is saying my claim
s barred because of Eleventh Amendment and quoting:
"The Eleventh Amendment provides: "The Judicial power of the United States shall
not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted
against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or
Subjects of any Foreign State."
I could not comprehend what above quote mean or how it applies to my case,
1. Does it mean case can not brought against California state agency in a Federal
2. Because I do not reside in California I am considered citizen of other state
and because of my out of California residence I am barred from filing civil
lawsuit against a California state agency?
3. I am barred from filing lawsuit for some other reason and if so for what??
2 Answers from Attorneys
The Eleventh Amendment is an extremely complicated area of the law. It basically means that states cannot be sued in federal court, which I understand is your reason number 1.
You are not barred from filing suit against a CA state agency just because you are a citizen elsewhere. That suit, however, may have to be brought in CA state court.
It isn't possible to tell if one of the relatively narrow exceptions to the Eleventh Amendment applies to your case. As I said, this area of the law is extremely complicated. Many lawyers don't understand it well, and rarely deal with it.
Mr. Perry's answer is basically correct. What they are claiming is that you have to sue in California state courts, not Federal court due to the 11th Amendment.