Map of Federal Courts

And “now for something completely different”, only on the NCFP blog can you find Monty Python clips, a discussion of the jet stream, and a map of the federal circuits! As I replied to Dave Skinner below I had a crisis of confidence and decided to check:

FederalJudicialCircuitsAndDistricts

Note: I think I remember some FS cases going to DC or federal court but can’t remember for sure and can’t remember why. Can anyone out there help?

2 Comments

  1. A practicing attorney could probably give you a better answer, but your question is about federal court venue and it is governed by federal statutes. Generally speaking venue can be where the federal action occurs or where a federal defendant ‘resides.’ For the Forest Service ‘residence’ can be D. C., and so you do see some ‘forum shopping’ where environmental plaintiffs seek out the western courts, and some industry cases I am familiar with have been in the D. C. courts. I assume the rationale is based on where the best chance of winning is, but I have heard (fairly directly) that the chance of industry winning ‘back east’ is perceived to be better because there is less ‘familiarity’ with the issues.

    The Federal Circuit is a different animal entirely. It hears appeals of certain kinds of cases. Forest Service cases involving contracts that are filed in the Federal Court of Claims are appealed to the Federal Circuit Court.

  2. Jon is too modest, he knows this stuff as well as anyone. Note that the colored areas on the map are for the courts of appeal, or “circuit courts”. A case would first be brought in federal district court, and the districts (I believe there are 94 of them) are shown by the little squiggly dotted lines. Jon described how, for example, a Montana case against the USFS might be brought in MT district court (because defendant Faye Krueger, Region One supervisor, resides there, and/or because the federal action occurred there) or in DC district court (because defendant USFS “resides” there). Then an appeal of the district court decision would be brought in the corresponding circuit court; at that point there’s no forum shopping to my knowledge (someone correct me if wrong). -Guy

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