Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate amended (02/26/1998)

Citizens Access to Justice Act of 1998 - Authorizes an owner of private property to challenge the validity of any Federal agency action as a violation of the fifth amendment to the U.S. Constitution in a district court or the United States Court of Federal Claims (Claims court). Grants the district court and the Claims court concurrent jurisdiction over claims for monetary relief and claims seeking invalidation of any Act of Congress or any Federal regulation affecting private property rights.

Authorizes the plaintiff to elect to file an action under this Act in a district court or the Claims court. Waives U.S. sovereign immunity with respect to such an action and grants the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit exclusive jurisdiction.

Sets a six-year statute of limitations. Directs the court to award litigation costs, including reasonable attorney's fees, to any prevailing plaintiff.

(Sec. 6) Modifies Federal judicial code provisions to grant the Claims court jurisdiction to render judgment upon any claim under this Act against the United States for monetary relief founded either upon the Constitution, any Act of Congress, or any regulation of an executive department, or upon any express or implied contract with the United States in cases not sounding in tort, or for invalidation of any Act of Congress or any regulation of an executive department.

Sets forth provisions regarding the Claims court's: (1) supplemental jurisdiction; and (2) jurisdiction which constitutes judicial review of agency action.

Makes any claim brought under this Act founded upon a property right or privilege secured by the Constitution but allegedly infringed or taken by the United States ripe for adjudication upon a final decision rendered by the United States that causes actual and concrete injury to the party seeking redress. Sets forth guidelines as to what constitutes a final decision.

Repeals provisions regarding pendency of claims in other courts. Grants the district courts original jurisdiction, concurrent with the Claims court, over any civil action filed under this Act.

Prohibits a district court, whenever it exercises civil rights jurisdiction in an action in which the operative facts concern the uses of real property, from abstaining from exercising jurisdiction or relinquishing it to a State court in an action where no claim of a violation of a State law, right, or privilege is alleged and where a parallel proceeding in State court arising out of the same operative facts is not pending.

Authorizes the district court, where it has jurisdiction over such an action which cannot be decided without resolution of an unsettled question of State law: (1) to certify the question of State law to the highest appellate court of that State; and (2) after that court resolves the question, to proceed with resolving the merits. Prohibits the court from certifying a State law question unless it will significantly affect the merits of the injured party's Federal claim and unless it is patently unclear.

Specifies that any claim or action brought to redress the deprivation of a property right or privilege secured by the Constitution shall be ripe for adjudication by the district courts upon a final decision rendered by any person acting under color of any statute, regulation, or usage of any State of U.S. territory that causes actual and concrete injury to the party seeking redress.

(Sec. 7) Requires a Federal agency that takes an agency action limiting the use of private property to give notice to the property owners explaining their rights and the procedures for obtaining any compensation that may be due to them under this Act.