Public University Dismissed from Asbestos Case Under Eleventh Amendment Immunity

LOUISIANA – The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has granted a public university’s motion to dismiss a mesothelioma case pursuant to immunity provided by the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. The plaintiff, Carey Gomez, alleged that he was exposed to asbestos from several sources throughout his lifetime, including take-home exposure from his father, who was employed at a shipyard in the 1960s, and direct exposure from his own work as a plumber from 1988 to 2011. The plaintiff filed suit against numerous defendants, one of which was the board of supervisors for the Louisiana University System through Nicholls State University at Thibodaux. Nicholls State subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, arguing that it was protected by the Eleventh Amendment, which bars suits against individual states or their agencies in federal court, unless the state has waived immunity. The plaintiff did not oppose the motion.

In line with prior decisions from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the court concluded that Nicholls was an “arm of the state,” and was therefore entitled to immunity under the Eleventh Amendment, which the State of Louisiana had not waived. As such, the court dismissed Nicholls from the case.

Read the case decision here.