Alabama school boards do not have 11th Amendment immunity against employee suits
For the last two years, Kathryn Piscitelli (of Orlando, FL) and I have been resisting the Madison City School Board's defense that it is an "arm of the state" and therefore immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment to the US Constitution. A magistrate judge, a district judge, and now a panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed with us that the Board is not immune. (We were assisted in the Circuit Court by Phil Hostak of Washington DC. Phil did a great job of arguing the case.)
The opinion of the court is available on the court's website.
The underlying lawsuit is a claim under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA). Our client, Mike Weaver has been called to the service of his county several times during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. His complaint alleges that, beginning in 2007, his job duties had been reduced when he returned, that his status in the workplace has been decreased, and he has not received a raise since then (but all other central-office employees of the board have had pay raises). Now that we have won on this defense, we are looking forward to litigating the merits of the case.