Paul Lapides v. Board of Regents of University System of Georgia
Argued February 25, 2002
Decided May 13, 2002
Full case nameLapides v. Board of Regents of University System of Georgia
Docket no.01-298
Citations535 U.S. 613 (more)
122 S. Ct. 1640; 152 L. Ed. 2d 806
Case history
Prior251 F.3d 1372 (11th Cir. 2001); cert. granted, 534 U.S. 991 (2001).
A State waives its Eleventh Amendment immunity when it removes a case from state court to federal court. The university officials' voluntary removal of the action expressly invoked the jurisdiction of the federal courts and thus constituted a waiver of sovereign immunity with regard to state law claims for which immunity was waived in state court. It is an established general principle that a State's voluntary appearance in federal court amounts to a waiver of its Eleventh Amendment immunity. Although Georgia was brought involuntarily into the case as a defendant in state court, it then voluntarily removed the case to federal court, thus voluntarily invoking that court's jurisdiction. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded.
Court membership
Chief Justice
William Rehnquist
Associate Justices
John P. Stevens · Sandra Day O'Connor
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
David Souter · Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg · Stephen Breyer
Case opinion
MajorityBreyer, joined by unanimous
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. XI

Lapides v. Board of Regents of University System of Georgia, 535 U.S. 613 (2002), is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States which ruled that a state voluntarily waives at least part of its Eleventh Amendment immunity when it invokes a federal court's removal jurisdiction. There has subsequently been a "circuit split" in federal courts regarding whether a state waives immunity from liability or only a federal forum.[1]


A professor filed suit in state court claiming that adding when they placed sexual harassment allegations in his personnel files violated state tort laws. The university system voluntarily moved the case to federal court and sought dismissal there.

Opinion of the court

Justice Stephen Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court.

See also


  1. ^ Stroud v. McIntosh, No. 12-10436 (11th Cir. 2013)