the United States Claims Court without the concerns over venue presented to this Court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1491(a). Moreover, as defendants point out, allowing a suit to be brought on behalf of a group of individuals in a federal district court where any one of them resides invites forum shopping, a danger clearly exemplified in a case such as this involving hundreds of plaintiffs from virtually every jurisdiction in the United States.
Upon consideration of the statutory scheme embodied in the Tucker Act for the litigation of monetary claims against the United States, and on balancing the consequences of the positions advocated by the parties, this Court concludes that the Tucker Act requires plaintiffs to litigate their claims only in the district in which they individually reside, or in the Claims Court. Considered together, the jurisdictional and venue provisions of the Tucker Act embody Congress' deliberate efforts to channel certain types of cases to the Claims Court (formerly the Court of Claims) while allowing other claims to be heard concurrently by certain district courts. The Tucker Act was intended both to expand the relief available against the United States
and to give persons with comparatively small claims against the United States the option "to bring suits in the districts where they and their witnesses reside without subjecting them to the expense and annoyance of litigating in Washington." United States v. King, 119 F. Supp. 398, 403 (D. Alaska 1954) (quoted in 14 C. Wright, A. Miller & E. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 3657 at 214-15 (1981)). See also Bates Manufacturing Company v. United States, 303 U.S. 567, 570-71, 58 S. Ct. 694, 82 L. Ed. 1020 (1938).
The venue provision of the Tucker Act, therefore, was deliberately drafted to carve out a narrow exception to the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims (now the Claims Court) in order to eliminate a perceived hardship on the parties. Here, in seeking to establish venue in this Court under the Tucker Act, plaintiffs cannot justify their request on the same concerns perceived as legitimate by Congress. Therefore, given that plaintiffs do not seek to take advantage of the intended benefits of the Tucker Act's venue provision, this Court will not substitute its judgment for that of Congress by creating new procedural benefits for plaintiffs. To the extent plaintiffs desire to pursue their claims together in one action, the Claims Court is the forum available under the structure of the Tucker Act.
In light of the unique and purposeful structure of the Tucker Act, plaintiffs' argument that this Court should interpret § 1402(a)(1) in a manner consistent with the interpretation which other courts have given to the same language under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)(4), also referring to where "the plaintiff resides," is unpersuasive. See e.g., Exxon Corp. v. F.T.C., 588 F.2d 895, 898-99 (3rd Cir. 1978) (venue proper under § 1391(e)(4) where at least one plaintiff resides in the district). Because § 1391(e) also permits the action to be brought where a defendant in the action resides or where the cause of action arose, see 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)(1) & (2), it clearly does not involve the same concerns over the respective jurisdiction of the Claims Court and the district courts as are embodied in the Tucker Act.
Finally, this Court cannot accept plaintiffs' efforts to bring this action in this district on the grounds that plaintiffs seek equitable relief unavailable in the Claims Court. This argument is unpersuasive because, as noted above, nothing prevents plaintiffs from litigating their claims in the federal district court where they individually reside to the extent they view this as an actual concern. The Court questions the legitimacy of this concern, however, since any district court hearing claims under the Tucker Act sits as the Claims Court, and may not grant equitable relief unavailable in the Claims Court which merely determines the existence and extent of monetary relief against the United States. See Lee v. Thornton, 420 U.S. 139, 140, 43 L. Ed. 2d 85, 95 S. Ct. 853 (1975); Richardson v. Morris, 409 U.S. 464, 465, 34 L. Ed. 2d 647, 93 S. Ct. 629 (1973); Cape Fox Corporation v. United States, 646 F.2d 399, 402 (9th Cir. 1981).
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) a district court may transfer a case when venue is improper to any court in which it could have been brought if it would be "in the interest of justice" to do so. 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). In opposing defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiffs did not in the alternative request transfer to the Claims Court. However, as outlined above, in urging this Court to recognize venue as proper in this district the plaintiffs did emphasize the concerns for judicial economy and the desirability of litigating all of the plaintiffs' claims in the same forum. Although plaintiffs' arguments were unpersuasive in concluding that this Court in particular should be recognized as a proper forum, they nevertheless support the conclusion that it would be in the interest of justice to transfer this case, presently structured as a class action, to the only court which may hear all of the plaintiffs' claims - the Claims Court.
Accordingly, it is this 3rd day of January, 1985,
ORDERED that this action is hereby transferred to the United States Claims Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).