The ACLU of Minnesota submitted a request to participate as amicus curiae in this inmate abuse case. The Minnesota Court of Appeals dismissed the inmate's important constitutional claims, citing sovereign immunity. In our amicus request, we urged the Minnesota Supreme Court to grant review of the Court of Appeals decision because it was contrary to well established law governing civil rights litigation.
While government officials are entitled to sovereign immunity from suit when they are sued in their official capacity, they do not enjoy the benefits of immunity when there are sued in their individual capacity, as was the case here. The Minnesota Supreme Court granted review of the case and summarily reversed the Court of Appeals decision on that issue. Thus, the constitutional claims will be re-instated against prison officials acting in their individual capacities.