Clearing the Path to Justice: The Need to Reform 28 U.S.C. § 1500
76 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2013
Date Written: 2013
Plaintiffs suing the United States face a little-known obstacle to justice: 28 U.S.C. § 1500. This statute prohibits the United States Court of Federal Claims from exercising jurisdiction over a claim if the plaintiff has the same claim pending in another court. This apparently sensible rule causes considerable trouble because a “claim” is understood to include all claims based on the same operative facts, and Congress has required that certain types of claims against the United States must go to different courts. Therefore, a plaintiff with multiple claims against the United States may neither be able to bring the claims together in one case nor split them into separate cases. Section 1500 may effectively compel such a plaintiff to pursue only one claim and abandon the others. This unjust result is contrary to fundamental principles of modern civil procedure, which allow a plaintiff to pursue multiple claims against a defendant. Worse, it serves no good purpose. This Article argues that Congress should repeal § 1500 to provide justice to plaintiffs with multiple claims against the United States.
Keywords: Civil Procedure, Jurisdiction, Court of Federal Claims, Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS)
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