Danos v. Jones, et al, No. 10-30709 (5th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff was a secretary of G. Thomas Porteous, Jr. during his service as a district judge until Porteous was impeached and the Judicial Council of the Fifth Circuit suspended Porteous's authority to employ staff, which resulted in plaintiff's termination. Plaintiff sued the Judicial Council and fifteen of its members seeking declaratory relief, reinstatement to her position, monetary relief, and attorney's fees and costs. Plaintiff subsequently appealed the district court's order insofar as it dismissed her claims against the members of the Judicial Council. The court held that plaintiff lacked prudential standing to bring her constitutional challenge to the Judicial Council's action. The court rejected plaintiff's claim that the ultra vires exception applied to sovereign immunity where her claims for injunctive relief were moot in light of Porteous's removal from office; claims for back pay and retirement credits were barred by sovereign immunity; and plaintiff lacked the necessary injury-in-fact to pursue declaratory relief. The court also held that even if plaintiff had standing to seek declaratory relief, she had not pleaded a sufficient claim of ultra vires action by the Judicial Council to overcome the jurisdictional bar of sovereign immunity. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.