Iowa High Court Clarifies Younger Sovereign Immunity

Iowa case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: Sovereign immunity.

Tina Lee v. State of Iowa and Polk County Clerk of Court. IA sovereign immunity, Younger

This case of a court employee suing under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was back to the Iowa Supreme Court after a 2012 remand, Lee v. Iowa, Polk County Clerk of Court, 815 N.W.2d 731 (Iowa 2012).

The Supreme Court held: the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution does not bar an award of wages and benefits for the period a reinstatement order was stayed, citing Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908)

No. 12-2055 (Iowa Mar. 28, 2014).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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