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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit to hear oral arguments in Indiana 11th amendment case today

On July 28, 2009, the 7th Circuit decided the case of Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services v. Indiana FSSA., vacating Judge McKinney's judgment and remanding with instructions to dismiss for want of jurisdiction. Here is the ILB summary.

In the suit, Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS) was attempting to access the records of a mentally disabled patient who had died at LaRue Carter, a state hospital, in order "to learn whether she was a victim of abuse, so that it could propose improvements in medical procedures." The hospital declined, citing privacy. "Advocacy Services then filed this suit in federal court, naming as defendants not only the Hospital but also the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (which superintends the Hospital), plus several state officials. The district court held that defendants must hand over the records."

The 7th Circuit panel, consisting of Chief Judge Easterbrook, Judge Sykes, and Northern District of Illinois Judge Kendall, sitting by designation, ruled: "This suit, between one state agency and another, is outside the scope of §1983 and blocked by the eleventh amendment."

But that was not the end, the Court later voted to hear the case en banc and vacated the July 28th opinion. The oral argument is today at 10:00 AM.

The federal government filed an amicus on the side of IPAS, and the Indiana Attorney General is arguing the other side. This is a 11th Amendment issue pertaining to the question of when and if a state can sue itself. The ILB has obtained a copy of the IPAS brief: the Washington DC firm of Morrison & Foerster is doing the oral argument pro bono.

You will be able to access the oral argument here on the 7th Circuit site, after it is uploaded.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 24, 2010 08:23 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions