Allen v. Cooper

Decision Date10 July 2018
Docket Number No. 17-1602,No. 17-1522,17-1522
Citation895 F.3d 337
Parties Frederick L. ALLEN; Nautilus Productions, LLC, Plaintiffs–Appellees, v. Roy A. COOPER, III, as Governor of North Carolina; Susi H. Hamilton, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in her official capacity; Susan Wear Kluttz, former Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, individually; D. Reid Wilson, Chief Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in his official capacity; Karin Cochran, former Chief Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, individually; Kevin Cherry, Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, individually and in his official capacity; G. Neel Lattimore, Director of Communications of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in his official capacity; Catherine A. Oliva, Director of Marketing of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in her official capacity; Cary Cox, former Assistant Secretary, Marketing and Communications of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, individually; Stephen R. Claggett, a/k/a Steve Claggett, State Archaeologist, individually and in his official capacity; John W. Morris, a/k/a Billy Ray Morris, Deputy State Archaeologist–Underwater and Director of the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, individually and in his official capacity; North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; State of North Carolina, Defendants–Appellants, and Friends of Queen Anne’s Revenge, a Non-profit Corporation, Defendant. The Copyright Alliance ; Ralph Oman, Amici Supporting Appellees. Frederick L. Allen; Nautilus Productions, LLC, Plaintiffs–Cross-Appellants, v. Roy A. Cooper, III, as Governor of North Carolina; Susi H. Hamilton, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in her official capacity; Susan Wear Kluttz, former Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, individually; D. Reid Wilson, Chief Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in his official capacity; Karin Cochran, former Chief Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, individually; Kevin Cherry, Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, individually and in his official capacity; G. Neel Lattimore, Director of Communications of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in his official capacity; Catherine A. Oliva, Director of Marketing of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in her official capacity; Cary Cox, former Assistant Secretary, Marketing and Communications of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, individually; Stephen R. Claggett, a/k/a Steve Claggett, State Archaeologist, individually and in his official capacity; John W. Morris, a/k/a Billy Ray Morris, Deputy State Archaeologist–Underwater and Director of the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, individually and in his official capacity; North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; State of North Carolina, Defendants–Cross-Appellees, and Friends of Queen Anne’s Revenge, a Non-profit Corporation, Defendant.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit

ARGUED: Ryan Y. Park, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellants/Cross-Appellees. Susan Freya Olive, OLIVE & OLIVE, P.A., Durham, North Carolina, for Appellees/Cross-Appellants. Andrew Michael Gass, LATHAM & WATKINS LLP, San Francisco, California, for Amicus Ralph Oman. ON BRIEF: Josh Stein, Attorney General, Matthew W. Sawchak, Solicitor General, Amar Majmundar, Senior Deputy Attorney General, Olga E. Vysotskaya de Brito, Special Deputy Attorney General, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellants/Cross-Appellees. G. Jona Poe, Jr., POE LAW FIRM, PLLC, Durham, North Carolina; David L. McKenzie, OLIVE & OLIVE, P.A., Durham, North Carolina, for Appellees/Cross-Appellants. Kelly M. Klaus, MUNGER, TOLLES & OLSON LLP, San Francisco, California, for Amicus Copyright Alliance. Perry J. Viscounty, Allison S. Blanco, Costa Mesa, California, Jennifer L. Berry, San Diego, California, Patrick K. O’Brien, LATHAM & WATKINS LLP, San Francisco, California, for Amicus Ralph Oman.

Before NIEMEYER and KING, Circuit Judges, and Leonie M. BRINKEMA, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, sitting by designation.

Reversed and remanded with instructions by published opinion. Judge Niemeyer wrote the opinion, in which Judge King and Judge Brinkema joined.

NIEMEYER, Circuit Judge:

Frederick Allen, a videographer, and Nautilus Productions, LLC, Allen’s video production company, commenced this action, which, at its core, alleges that North Carolina, its agencies, and its officials (collectively, "North Carolina") violated Allen’s copyrights by publishing video footage and a still photograph that Allen took of the 18th–century wreck of a pirate ship that sank off the North Carolina coast. Allen and Nautilus obtained the rights to create the footage and photograph through a permit issued by North Carolina to the ship’s salvors, and Allen subsequently registered his work with the U.S. Copyright Office. Allen and Nautilus also seek to declare unconstitutional a 2015 state law— N.C. Gen. Stat. § 121–25(b) (providing that photographs and video recordings of shipwrecks in the custody of North Carolina are public records)—which Allen and Nautilus claim was enacted in bad faith to provide the State with a defense to their federal copyright infringement action.

North Carolina filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), asserting sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment, qualified immunity, and legislative immunity. North Carolina’s claim of sovereign immunity prompted Allen and Nautilus to argue (1) that in a 2013 Settlement Agreement, North Carolina waived sovereign immunity; (2) that in any event the federal Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 had abrogated the State’s sovereign immunity; and (3) that as to their claims for injunctive relief, Ex parte Young provided an exception to sovereign immunity for ongoing violations of federal law.

The district court rejected North Carolina’s claims of immunity, and North Carolina filed this interlocutory appeal. Allen and Nautilus filed a cross-appeal. For the reasons that follow, we reverse and remand with instructions to dismiss with prejudice the claims against the state officials in their individual capacities and to dismiss without prejudice the remaining claims.

I

In 1717, the pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, captured a French merchant vessel and renamed her Queen Anne’s Revenge . Teach armed the Revenge with 40 cannons and made her his flagship. But the following year, the Revenge ran aground about a mile off the coast of Beaufort, North Carolina, and Teach abandoned her. Under state law, the ship and its artifacts later became the property of North Carolina and subject to its "exclusive dominion and control." N.C. Gen. Stat. § 121–22.

More than two-and-a-half centuries later, on November 21, 1996, Intersal, Inc., a private research and salvage firm operating under a permit issued by North Carolina, discovered the wreck of the Revenge , and on September 1, 1998, Intersal, along with Maritime Research Institute, Inc., an affiliated entity, entered into a 15–year salvage agreement with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources ("the Department"). Under the agreement, Intersal and Maritime Research acknowledged North Carolina’s ownership of the shipwreck and the ship’s artifacts, and North Carolina acknowledged Intersal’s and Maritime Research’s salvage rights, agreeing that Intersal and Maritime Research could retain a designated portion of the financial proceeds arising from the sale of media relating to the Revenge and replicas of its artifacts.

As relevant to this case, the agreement provided that:

Except as provided in paragraph 20 and this paragraph, Intersal shall have the exclusive right to make and market all commercial narrative (written, film, CD Rom, and/or video) accounts of project related activities undertaken by the Parties.

The agreement, however, made an exception for the creation of a "non commercial educational video and/or film documentary" and provided that the parties would cooperate in making such an educational documentary. And Paragraph 20 provided:

The Department shall have the right to authorize access to, and publish accounts and other research documents relating to, the artifacts, site area, and project operations for non commercial educational or historical purposes. Nothing in this document shall infringe to any extent the public’s right to access public records in accordance with Chapters 121 and 132 of the General Statutes of North Carolina.

The agreement also provided:

[Maritime Research], Intersal and the Department agree to make available for duplication by each other, or, when appropriate, to provide the Department with, relevant field maps, notes, drawings, photographic records and other such technical, scientific and historical documentation created or collected by [Maritime Research], Intersal or the Department pursuant to the study of the site and the recovery of materials therefrom. These materials shall become public records curated by the Department.

Following execution of this salvage agreement, Intersal retained Nautilus, Allen’s production company, to document the salvage of the Revenge , and under that...

To continue reading

Request your trial
57 cases
  • NC RSOL v. Boone
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of North Carolina
    • August 26, 2019
    ...to be deterred so long as the law remains on the books and the state continues to actively prosecute offenders. See Allen v. Cooper, 895 F.3d 337, 354–55 (4th Cir. 2018), cert. granted, ––– U.S. ––––, 139 S. Ct. 2664, 204 L.Ed.2d 1068 (2019) (stating that the alleged violation must be ongoi......
  • Garrett v. Clarke
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Virginia
    • August 4, 2021
    ...... that a state officer who acts unconstitutionally is ‘stripped of his official or representative character.’ " Allen v. Cooper, 895 F.3d 337, 354 (4th Cir. 2018) (emphasis added) (quoting Antrican v. Odom, 290 F.3d 178, 184 (4th Cir. 2002) ). Garrett also does not allege that VDOC has wa......
  • Allen v. Cooper
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • March 23, 2020
    ...the Fourth Circuit explained, must be "congruent and proportional" to the Fourteenth Amendment injury it seeks to remedy. 895 F.3d 337, 350 (2018). Florida Prepaid had applied that principle to reject Congress's attempt, in the Patent Remedy Act, to abolish the States' immunity from patent ......
  • Bozarth v. Md. State Dep't of Educ.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Maryland
    • March 31, 2021
    ...(4th Cir. 2019) (citing Coll. Sav. Bank v. Fla. Prepaid Postsecondary Educ. Expense Bd., 527 U.S. 666, 675-76 (1999); Allen v. Cooper, 895 F.3d 337, 347 (4th Cir. 2018)). "[I]n order for a state statute or constitutional provision to constitute a waiver of Eleventh Amendment immunity, it mu......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 books & journal articles
  • Prisoners' Rights
    • United States
    • Georgetown Law Journal No. 110-Annual Review, August 2022
    • August 1, 2022
    ...(3d Cir. 2013) (request for Medicaid reimbursement not prospective relief because no ongoing constitutional violation), Allen v. Cooper, 895 F.3d 337, 355 (4th Cir. 2018) (requests for relief not prospective relief because no ongoing federal law violation), Corn v. Miss. Dep’t of Pub. Safet......
  • A New Frontier in Patent Bar Ethics?
    • United States
    • ABA General Library Landslide No. 12-2, November 2019
    • November 1, 2019
    ...relief; and the future of sovereign immunity abrogation for copyright infringement will change one way or another by 2020. n Endnotes 1. 895 F.3d 337 (4th Cir. 2018). 2. See, e.g. , id. at 347; Nat’l Ass’n of Bds. of Pharmacy v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. Sys. of Ga., 633 F.3d 1297, 1314 (......
  • An Interview with Li-Hsien (Lily) Rin-Laures
    • United States
    • ABA General Library Landslide No. 12-2, November 2019
    • November 1, 2019
    ...relief; and the future of sovereign immunity abrogation for copyright infringement will change one way or another by 2020. n Endnotes 1. 895 F.3d 337 (4th Cir. 2018). 2. See, e.g. , id. at 347; Nat’l Ass’n of Bds. of Pharmacy v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. Sys. of Ga., 633 F.3d 1297, 1314 (......
  • Patenting Nature
    • United States
    • ABA General Library Landslide No. 12-2, November 2019
    • November 1, 2019
    ...relief; and the future of sovereign immunity abrogation for copyright infringement will change one way or another by 2020. n Endnotes 1. 895 F.3d 337 (4th Cir. 2018). 2. See, e.g. , id. at 347; Nat’l Ass’n of Bds. of Pharmacy v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. Sys. of Ga., 633 F.3d 1297, 1314 (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT