Sunday, June 18, 2017

Alienage Jurisdiction

Questions on the MBE come up quite often testing your understanding of diversity jurisdiction.  One of the difficulties of this topic is that there seems to be an endless amount of angles to test.

Here's one more:

As a quick review, diversity jurisdiction requires diversity of citizenship in which the dispute involves citizens of different states within the United States.  No plaintiff can be a citizen of the same state as any defendant or diversity will be destroyed and jurisdiction in the federal court will be improper unless there is another basis for claiming that subject matter jurisdiction is proper (such as federal question jurisdiction.)

A lesser known rule allows for subject matter jurisdiction over alienage cases in which the dispute is between a citizen of a U.S. state and a citizen of a foreign country. Importantly, this basis for jurisdiction will not apply if the citizen of the foreign country (an "alien") has been admitted to the United States for permanent residence and is domiciled in the same state as the U.S. citizen. In other words, when such occurs, diversity is destroyed just as it would be if the case involved a plaintiff and defendant, both of whom were citizens of the same U.S. state.

It should also be noted (and this comes up in questions as well) that there is no subject matter jurisdiction over cases by an alien against an alien; there must be a citizen of a U.S state on one side of the suit to qualify for alienage jurisdiction.

No comments:

Post a Comment