• Can you issue a claim in the Federal Court?

The jurisdiction of the United States Court of Federal Claims (USCFC) is currently codified in 28 U.S.C. Section 1491. The court generally has exclusive jurisdiction over most monetary claims against the United States in excess of $10,000 under the “Little Tucker Act” section 1346. The USCFC also has nationwide jurisdiction over most claims for monetary damaged against the government, federal contract claims and such.

The USCFC also has diversity jurisdiction as well as federal question jurisdiction. This means that rather than being based on the subject matter of the claim, it depends on the citizenship of the parties. When citizens of different states (US or foreign) have a dispute, they may seek to bring the case in federal court. The parties must not be of the same state, and this includes the citizenship of corporations that are parties to the action. In addition to this, diversity jurisdiction can only be exercised where the amount in dispute is $75,000 or more.

Determining Citizenship: Corporations

For diversity jurisdiction purposes, a corporation is a citizen of:

  1. Every US state where it is incorporated.
  2. Every foreign state where it is incorporated.
  3. The US state or foreign state where the corporation has its principal place of business.

A principal place of business of a corporation is the place where a corporation’s officers direct, control, and coordinate the corporation’s activities. In practice, this is the place where the corporation maintains its headquarters (Hertz Corp. V. Friend 2010). Unlike an individual, a corporation may be a citizen of more than one state.

  • Statute of limitations

This is a period set by the law in which your claim must be filed. This period begins when the injury/event/issue first occurs. Failure to act within this period will result in dismissal of your case and therefore, it is important to keep track of deadlines.

The limitation period is determined by the nature of the claim being made.

  • Filing the claim

You must now write out your complaint. The complaint should be formatted in a clear way including the court title, case number and judge (when you find out) and a title of the document which indicates what you are filing. This document can either be typed or handwritten, but must be legible.

The complaint must be drafted by including:

  1. A summary of why you are filing this claim in the US Court of Federal Claims, and why the court has jurisdiction over your case.
  2. The parties must also be identified including the correct name and address of both parties.
  3. The Statement of Facts should be explained along with the legal claims.
  4. You should also express what you would like the court to do, this is referred to as the request for relief.
  5. The document should end with exhibits numbered in sequential order, if you wish to provide any.

If you need help in drafting Statement of Facts or index your exhibits as evidence, please see Lawli legal document drafting tool, which provides auto-assisted DIY online services, to enable you to draft these required legal documents entirely on your own, at a 30% – 90% discount and a fraction of the costs compared to traditional methods.

After the document has been drafted, it is time to submit your complaint. All documents should be mailed to:

Clerk of Court

U.S. Court of Federal Claims

717 Madison Place, NW

Washington, DC 20439

Along with your complaint and required copies, you must submit a Civil Cover Sheet. This form is available on the court’s website at www.uscfc.uscourts.gov. You must also include either the filing fee or an Application to proceed, both of which can be found on the website above.

  • Notice of assignment and court proceedings

After the plaintiff has filed the complaint along with the Cover Sheet and Application to Proceed, a notice of assignment is filed by the court and served to all parties. The Court then waits for an answer from the defendant to the complaint which is due 60 days from filing the complaint.

From here, the court proceedings begin.


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