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Burley v. Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co.

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20265
Nos. No. 07-147, (D. Mont., 10/10/2008)

A district court denied a railroad's motion to bring the state of Montana into an environmental contamination lawsuit between private property owners and the railroad. The state is immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment. The state has not consented to involvement in this action and, in fact, has resisted the railroad's motion for joinder. The fact that the railroad will not seek to assert any direct claims against the state treasury does not waive the state's Eleventh Amendment immunity. Second, the railroad has not argued that Congress has somehow abrogated the state's sovereign immunity. Nor has the railroad argued that the state may be joined here under Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), which allows a suit against a state official when the suit seeks only prospective injunctive relief to end a continuing violation of federal law. Thus, the Eleventh Amendment immunity deprives the court of jurisdiction over the state in this action, and the railroad's motion for joinder must be denied.