Spring 2007-03 Commissioner of Financial Institutions held immune

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Number 67
Spring 2007

Commissioner of Financial Institutions held immune

The Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of Puerto Rico. So ruled the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico in Esteves Jiménez v. Sosa Lloréns, 789 F. Supp. 508 (D.P.R. 1992).

Cease and desist

The commissioner issued an order to cease and desist against Carlos Esteves Jiménez and Candy Areche Holdun, enjoining them and their company, Coral Gables Credit Corporation, from offering and selling securities in Puerto Rico, and from engaging in banking operations here. Although the order notified the plaintiffs that they could request an administrative hearing within ten days, they chose not to, and instead filed suit in federal court, seeking to declare the order unconstitutional.


The Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution provides that the federal courts may not consider any suit against a state by citizens of another state or foreign country. "It is well settled," stated the court, "that the 11th Amendment bars suits against state officials, in their official capacity, on the basis of their application of state law." The merits of the commissioner's order are not considered in the opinion; but even if the order were incorrect, ". . . misapplication of state law by a state official does not give rise to an action for infringement of constitutional rights, it merely entitles plaintiff to bring an action for violation of state law."

© 2007 Goldman Antonetti & Cordova, LLC