Bergemann v. RI Dep't of Envtl Mgmt., No. 11-1407 (1st Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
State environmental police officers brought state court litigation against their employer, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, based on the DEM's handling of wage and benefit matters, relating to unorthodox work schedules. Based on a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201, the case was removed to federal court. The district court held that the state had immunity under the FLSA and ruled in favor of the state on other claims. The First Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that a state waives its sovereign immunity by removing a claim to federal court. Waiver occurs only if removal confers an unfair advantage on the removing state. In this case, "removal did not change the level of the playing field."