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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today

The 63-page en banc opinion is Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services v. Indiana FSSA. It was heard before EASTERBROOK, Chief Judge, and POSNER, FLAUM, KANNE, ROVNER, WOOD, WILLIAMS, SYKES, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges. Judge Tinder did not participate in the consideration of this appeal.

This ILB entry from Feb. 24, 2010 presents the background to this case. Here is part of the entry:

[On July 28, 2009] 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 federal government filed an amicus on the side of IPAS, and the Indiana Attorney General [argued] the other side. This is a 11th Amendment issue pertaining to the question of when and if a state can sue itself.

Judge Hamilton writes the majority opinion. Judge Posner joins, but writes separately, beginning on p. 38. CJ Easterbrook dissents, beginning on p. 49.

Judge Hamilton's opinion for the majority begins:

HAMILTON, Circuit Judge. Pursuant to the federal Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act of 1986 (“the PAIMI Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 10801 et seq., the district court ordered Indiana state officials and a state agency to give plaintiff Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (“IPAS”) access to records of two mentally ill patients in a state hospital. On appeal, a panel of this court reversed, finding that the Eleventh Amendment and the lack of a statutory cause of action barred the action. Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services v. Indiana Family and Social Services Admin., 573 F.3d 548, 550-52 (7th Cir. 2009). We granted rehearing en banc and hold: (1) the Eleventh Amendment does not bar plaintiff IPAS from seeking injunctive and declaratory relief against named state officials; (2) the PAIMI Act itself provides a cause of action for injunctive and declaratory relief to enforce the Act; and (3) plaintiff is entitled to access to peer review records of treatment of covered mentally ill patients. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court as modified to direct that the relief runs only against the named state officials in their official capacities.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 22, 2010 01:56 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions