A written employment contract is enforceable against the state of Kentucky, its agencies and against state universities. This is the ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court in its recent decision, University of Louisville v. Rothstein.
Mark Rothstein was recruited to the medical faculty at the University of Louisville; he was both granted tenure and appointed as a Distinguished University Scholar (DUS) under a five-year renewable contract. A dispute arose between the University and Rothstein regarding the contract applicable to his appointment as a Distinguished University Scholar. The University claimed that it was entitled to sovereign immunity, since it is a state University.
The Kentucky Supreme Court in an unanimous opinion ruled that sovereign immunity did not apply to any claim based upon a lawfully authorized written contract with the Commonwealth, its agencies and/or universities. So sovereign immunity does not provide any shield to the states breach of a written employment contract.
Lexington, Kentucky employment lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and employees in employment law cases in state and federal courts across Kentucky; contact him at 859-254-7076.