Craig H. Allen, The Administrative Claim Prerequisite to Suit Against the United States under the Admiralty Jurisdiction Extension Act, 24 J. Mar. L. & Com. 719 (1993), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/100
Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce
Admiralty Jurisdiction Extension Act, Suits in Admiralty Act, Public Vessels Act
The Admiralty Jurisdiction Extension Act (AJEA) confers federal admiralty jurisdiction over all causes of action for vessel-caused damage done or consummated on land. In extending admiralty jurisdiction to land-based damage, the Act not only opened admiralty courts to a new class of litigants, it also enlarged the range of possible claims which could be brought against the United States under the Suits in Admiralty Act (SAA) or the Public Vessels Act (PVA). At the same time, however, an important prerequisite to suit against the government was incorporated into the AJEA that is absent from the SAA or PVA: where an injured party's cause of action arises under the AJEA, the Act provides that no suit may be filed against the United States until six months after the individual has filed an administrative claim with the responsible federal agency. Compliance with the administrative claim requirement is jurisdictional; failure to satisfy the requirement will result in dismissal of an injured party's suit. This article examines the provisions of the AJEA and the statute's effect on the Suits in Admiralty Act and Public Vessels Act. It next identifies the causes of action against the United States which may arise under the AJEA. Finally, the article describes the elements of an administrative claim and the requirements for presentment of such claims.