1. A Complex Legal Issue, created by two Federal Statutes enacted nearly 100 years apart, recently served as the backdrop for a remarkable oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco.
2. In the 1870s, Congress enacted a Statute known as the Tucker Act to provide a method for citizens to sue the United States for certain kinds of claims. The Tucker Act created the Court of Federal Claims, a specialized court designed to hear those suits.
3. A hundred years later, the Bankruptcy Reform Act borrowed the Waiver of Sovereign Immunity from the Tucker Act, and allowed United States District Courts across the country to adjudicate claims against the United States when they are related to bankruptcy proceedings.
4. This dilemma “two separate statutes conferring exclusive jurisdiction on two separate courts, over a single case,” presented the Ninth Circuit with a unique, complicated argument leading the judges to speculate that attention from the U.S. Supreme Court may be required to resolve the matter.
5. David A. Domina, Domina Law Group pc llo, argued on behalf of an Arizona farmer forced into bankruptcy because the Bureau of Land Management lease became useless and a local BLM official forced a bridge across a canal providing access to his farm to be removed. Within the farmer’s bankruptcy, he was forced to seek a recovery against the government.
6. The United States claimed the suit should not be brought in Bankruptcy Court, but in the Court of Federal Claims. The farmer contended otherwise, citing 28 USC § 1334, conferring exclusive jurisdiction on the District Courts in such circumstances.
7. Now, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals must decide the thorny jurisdictional issue.
8. The fascinating oral argument in the case may be heard by the public.
Domina Law Group pc llo is a firm of trial lawyers. We specialize in complex litigation on a national basis. Our lawyers are ethical, aggressive, and committed to providing spirit and vitality to the judicial system and our client’s legal rights.