A federal judge says key Georgia agencies are not immune from a lawsuit that claims one of the last Gullah-Geechee communities of slave descendants on the Southeast coast is being eroded by discrimination and neglect.
The lawsuit says state and county agencies have pressured black residents and landowners to leave the tiny Hogg Hummock community on Sapelo Island by charging unfair tax rates in return for few services.
Attorneys for the state wanted the lawsuit dismissed, citing the 11th Amendment's broad protections for states being sued in federal court.
In a ruling Friday, Judge Lisa Godbey Wood in Brunswick dismissed the case against just one of the lawsuit's seven named defendants — the Sapelo Island Heritage Authority. Wood is still considering arguments for dismissal not related to immunity.