U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Hopkins, 427 U.S. 123 (1976)
United States v. Hopkins
Argued April 19-20, 1976
Decided June 24, 1976
427 U.S. 123
Asserting jurisdiction under the Tucker Act, which provides for suits in the Court of Claims upon any express or implied contract with military exchanges, respondent's decedent brought suit against the United States alleging that his discharge from his position as a civilian employee of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) breached an employment contract. The Government moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, claiming that the Tucker Act was not applicable to employment contracts and alternatively that AAFES employees do not have a contractual relationship with their employer, but serve by "appointment." Denying this motion, the Court of Claims, after determining that AAFES employees could never serve by appointment, held that it had jurisdiction because respondent's decedent's relationship with the AAFES was based upon an implied contract of employment and such contract was covered by the Tucker Act, as amended in 1970.
Held: Since the Tucker Act applies, by its terms, to "any express or implied contract," it is applicable to employment contracts as well as those for goods or other services, and hence respondent's decedent's allegations that his discharge constituted a breach of an employment contract was sufficient, under the Act as amended in 1970, to withstand the Government's motion to dismiss. But in determining whether the decedent was employed by virtue of a contract or by appointment, the Court of Claims gave insufficient attention to applicable administrative regulations relating to the status of AAFES employees, and thus erred in its threshold determination that such employees could never serve by appointment.
206 Ct. l. 303, 513 F.2d 1360, affirmed in part and vacated and remanded in part. chanrobles.com-red