Eleventh Amendment, Judicial Code, and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Restrict Ability of United States To Implead a State in Connection with Suit Commenced by a Private Citizen–Parks v. United States

Suit was brought by an individual against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act to recover compensation for property damage alleged to have been caused by the Government’s negligence in constructing and maintaining the physical components of a flood-control project in New York. Relying upon New York’s promise to hold the United States harmless on any liability arising from damage of this nature, the Government impleaded the state. On a motion before the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York to dismiss the state as a third-party defendant, held, motion granted. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not authorize service of a third-party complaint on a state, and the federal courts do not have jurisdiction to entertain such a complaint filed by the United States; moreover, the eleventh amendment to the federal constitution circumscribes an attempt by the Government to join a state as an involuntary third-party defendant when the principal action was commenced by a private citizen.