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WILLEMS v. BARCLAYS BANK
December 30, 1966
Edward J. WILLEMS and Pan American Industries, Inc., on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
BARCLAYS BANK D.C.O., Clifton Low-N-Chee, John Carter, William G. Stoll, Builders Guayana Ltd., "John Doe" and "Richard Roe," the last two names being fictitious, persons intended being those in conspiracy with the above named defendants, Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: COOPER
Defendant Barclay's Bank moves to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint. Motion granted.
Defendant contests this Court's jurisdiction, asserting a lack of diversity. We find that there is jurisdiction.
Plaintiff Willems is a New York citizen, while plaintiff Pan-American Industries is a Delaware corporation. Defendant Bank is a British corporation.
The diversity statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332 provides in pertinent part:
(a) The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $10,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between -
(1) citizens of different States;
(2) citizens of a State, and foreign states or citizens or subjects thereof; and
(3) citizens of different States and in which foreign states or citizens or subjects thereof are additional parties.
(c) For purposes of this section * * * a corporation shall be deemed a citizen of any State by which it has been incorporated and of the State where it has its principal place of business * * *.
Defendant's contention that plaintiff Pan-American's principal place of business is British Guiana is sustained by the papers submitted. Defendant argues that section 1332(c) applies to Pan-American, making it a citizen of British Guiana for diversity purposes. If this were accepted, diversity jurisdiction would not exist, as there would not be complete diversity. There is no provision for jurisdiction when an alien (Pan-American) sues an alien (Barclays). See 1 Moore, Federal Practice para. 0.60[8.4], p. 638; Mazzella v. Pan Oceanica A/S Panama, 232 F. Supp. 29 (S.D.N.Y.1964); Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 7 U.S. 267, 3 Cranch 267, 2 L. Ed. 435 (1806).
We conclude, however, that section 1332(c) does not give "dual citizenship" to a domestic corporation whose principal place of business is a foreign country. In Eisenberg v. Commercial Union Assurance Co., 189 F. Supp. 500 (S.D.N.Y.1960) the court held that section 1332(c) did not apply to a foreign corporation whose principal place of business was a State of the United States. In reaching this conclusion the court concluded that "* * * the statute differentiates between States of the United States and foreign states by the use of a capital S for the word when applied to a State of the United States." Eisenberg v. Commercial Union Assurance Co., supra, 189 F. Supp. at 502.
Thus, adopting this reasoning, when section 1332(c) makes a corporation a citizen "* * * of the State where it has its principal place of business * * *" the Congressional purpose was that this ...
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