Once the district court determines that it lacks jurisdiction, but that another federal court has authority to hear the case, the district court must consider whether the action would have been timely if it had been filed in the proper forum on the date filed, and if so, whether a transfer would be in the interest of justice.
The Merit Systems Protection Board upheld an employee's removal from his job, and the employee appealed the Board's decision to the district court. The district court held that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter because the employee did not raise claims of discrimination before the Board. The employee appealed the case to the United States Court of Appeals.
Did the district court have jurisdiction over the case?
The court held that petitioner never raised his discrimination claims before respondent and could not first raise them before the district court. Thus, the court did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter. The court further held that the district court could not have reached the merits of employee's claim on equitable considerations because the invocation of equitable considerations did not give a court the power to exercise jurisdiction in violation of the limits established by congress. However, the court remanded the matter with directions to consider whether the transfer of petitioner's action to the federal circuit was in the interest of justice because the law required the transfer of the case to the proper jurisdiction if it was in the interest of justice.