Case Details


Attorney General May Hot Wiave Defense Of Sovereign Immunity

Filing State



U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit




Montgomery v. State of Maryland, 266 F.3d 344 (4th Cir. 2001)


Attorney General may not waive defense of sovereign immunity unless legislature has expressly authorized such waiver.

Case Description

Plaintiff employee filed suit against defendants state, employer, and two supervisors alleging violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA“). The state initially argued, inter alia, that sovereign immunity barred the employee’s suit and then withdrew the Eleventh Amendment defense on behalf of all defendants. The District Court dismissed the complaint on sovereign immunity grounds and the plaintiff appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the dismissal. The court noted that, under Maryland law, the Attorney General may not dispositively waive the defense of sovereign immunity on behalf of the state. The court further noted Maryland’s highest court unequivocally provided that “suits against the state of Maryland can proceed only ‘where specific legislative authority‘ had been given and where the legislature has allocated funds ‘for the satisfaction of the judgment.’ The Maryland legislature had not authorized FMLA suits against the state nor allocated funds for such claims.