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State and Federal Governments:
College Savings Bank v. Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board

Docket Number: 98-149
Appealed From: U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
Subjects: Business competition; constructive consent doctrine; interstate marketing; Trademark Remedy Clarification Act of 1992, Pub L. No. 102-542, 106 State. 3567 (1992); Lanham Act; Fifth Amendment; Eleventh Amendment

Argued: April 20, 1999

Decided: June 23, 1999
Vote: 5-4

At Issue: Under the Eleventh Amendment, states have sovereign immunity from lawsuits by individuals. However, a portion of the Trademark Remedy Clarification Act (TRCA) enacted by Congress takes away that immunity if a state is accused of false and misleading advertising. Also, a state must waive its immunity and accept the suit. Were those conditions met to allow this suit to proceed in federal court?

Decision: The justices ruled that federal courts do not have jurisdiction to entertain this suit, as the TRCA did not nullify Florida's sovereign immunity and the state did not voluntarily waive it.

The full text of the College Savings Bank v. Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board decision is available at the FindLaw Internet Legal Resources Web site.

The full text of the 1997 decision from the 3rd Circuit, College Savings Bank v. Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board, also is available at FindLaw.

The International Trademark Association Web site features an overview of the Lanham Act.

The Cornell Law School site features the Lanham Act in detail, and the Trademark Remedy Clarification Act in the U.S. Code (15 U.S.C. 1051, Pub. L. 102-542, Oct. 27, 1992, 106 Stat. 3567) is available at the Web site for the U.S. House of Representatives' Office of the Law Revision Counsel.


Background from The Post
In 3 Cases, High Court Shifts Power to States (June 24, 1999)


Sources: The Washington Post, Supreme Court, The United States Law Week (a Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. publication)


© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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