AMELL V. UNITED STATES, 384 U. S. 158 (1966)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Amell v. United States, 384 U.S. 158 (1966)

Amell v. United States

No. 282

Argued January 24, 1966

Decided May 16, 1966

384 U.S. 158


Petitioners, federal employees working aboard government vessels, filed actions for wages in the Court of Claims, predicating jurisdiction on the Tucker Act, which permits suits in that court on contractual claims against the Government, and has a six-year statute of limitations. The Court of Claims granted respondent's motion to transfer the actions to various federal district courts on the ground that the claims were maritime in nature and justiciable solely under the Suits in Admiralty Act, with a two-year statute of limitations.


1. As demonstrated by statutes concerning wages of other government employees, Congress has traditionally treated employees like petitioners as public servants, rather than as seamen. Pp. 384 U. S. 161-163.

2. While the Suits in Admiralty Act was enacted after the Tucker Act, and would repeal the latter in case of conflict, the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims over suits such as these was unchallenged at least until 1960, and, in amending both statutes then, Congress did not indicate that it wished to deprive government-employed claimants of their rights under the Tucker Act. Pp. 163-165.

170 Ct.Cl. 898 reversed and remanded.

Page 384 U. S. 159

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