The Little Tucker Act
The Little Tucker Act was passed in 1887 and is now codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1346(a)(2). It gives the district courts original jurisdiction, concurrent with the Court of Federal Claims, of any civil action or claim against the United States, not exceeding $10,000 in amount, founded either upon the Constitution, or any Act of Congress, or any regulation of an executive department, or upon any express or implied contract with the United States, or for liquidated or unliquidated damages in cases not sounding in tort. Thus, federal district courts were granted jurisdiction, along with the Court of Federal Claims, over “Tucker Act” suits against the federal government for claims under $10,000, hence the "little" Tucker Act.[United States v. Hohri, 482 U.S. 64 (1987)] Litigants now have an easier time of pursuing Tucker Act claims because they are able to utilize the district courts instead of traveling to Washington, D.C. with witnesses and evidence. Shaw v. Gwatney 795 F.2d 1351 (8th Cir. 1986).
If the claim is brought in a district court, that court sits as if it were the Court of Federal Claims. There is no jury trial and money judgments are generally the only relief available. Furthermore, claims must be for no more than $10,000 and state law plays no part in the case. The plaintiff does have the option of waiving all damages that exceed the $10,000 cap in order to retain the district court’s jurisdiction. Smith v. Orr, 855 F.2d 1544 (C.A.Fed. 1988). The federal rules of procedure are applied. If a claim is erroneously brought in federal district court, the court has the authority to transfer the case to the Court of Federal Claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1406(c). Appeals for Tucker Act claims decided in district court are brought to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, regardless of the which circuit the district court is part of.