June 03, 2020 Articles

A Review of Two Recent Maritime Contract Claims Against the United States

Learn how federal district courts analyze a court's approach maritime contract jurisdiction.

By David Loh

Tort claims can be pursued in federal district court provided the claim complies with Federal Tort Claims Act. In the event your client has a contractual claim against the federal government, it is likely you will have to pursue it in the Court of Federal Claims, which has exclusive jurisdiction over contract claims against the United States in excess of $10,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1491(a)(1); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1346(a)(2) (authorizing the Court of Federal Claims and the federal district courts to exercise concurrent jurisdiction for claims not exceeding $10,000). However, the Contract Disputes Act (CDA) preserves admiralty jurisdiction in the federal district courts for suits against the United States “arising out of maritime contracts” 41 U.S.C. § 7102(d); see also 46 U.S.C. § 30906 (requiring civil actions in admiralty against the United States to be brought in federal district court); Thrustmaster of Texas, Inv. v. United States, 59 Fed. Cl. 672, 673-74 (2004) (recognizing that federal district courts have exclusive jurisdiction to hear CDA claims regarding maritime contracts).

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