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Alden v. Maine

United States Supreme Court
527 U.S. 706 (1999)


Facts

Alden (plaintiff), a probation officer, along with a group of other probation officers, filed suit against their employer, the State of Maine (defendant) in district court. Alden alleged that Maine had violated overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and sought overtime pay and liquidated damages. While the suit was pending, the United States Supreme Court decided Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44 (1996), which held that Congress lacks power under Article I of the Constitution to abrogate states’ sovereign immunity from suits in federal court. Based on this decision, the district court dismissed Alden’s action, and the court of appeals affirmed. Alden then filed the same action in state court in Maine. The state trial court dismissed the suit on the grounds that states had sovereign immunity from suit, and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed. Alden submitted a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Dissent (Souter, J.)

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