The Ninth Circuit previously issued dictum in Pearce v. Dir., Off. of Workers’ Compen. Programs stating that a petition for review of a compensation order arising under the Defense Base Act (DBA) should be filed in the circuit where the Administrative Law Judge’s office who heard the claim is located. On January 16, 2019, in Glob. Linguist Sols., LLC v. Abdelmeged, the Ninth Circuit reversed and held that a petition for review of a compensation order arising under the DBA should be filed in the circuit where the relevant District Director is located.
Under 42 U.S.C. § 1653(b), judicial proceedings should occur in the location of “the office of the [District Director] whose compensation order is involved”. The Ninth Circuit explained the policy behind this decision as District Directors are assigned claims based on where claimants live, while Administrative Law Judges travel frequently for hearings and are assigned randomly. Further, the Ninth Circuit avoided a circuit split as the District of Columbia reached the same conclusion in Hice v. Dir., Off. of Workers’ Compen. Programs. No other circuits have directly addressed the issue.