Law School Case Brief
Mas v. Perry - 489 F.2d 1396 (5th Cir. 1974)
While it is generally the case that the domicile of the wife--and, consequently, her state citizenship for purposes of diversity jurisdiction--is deemed to be that of her husband, the court finds no precedent for extending this concept to the situation where the husband is a citizen of a foreign state but resides in the United States.
Defendant appealed from a decision of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, which had jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C.S. § 1332(a)(2) between appellant, a resident of Louisiana, and appellees, a French national residing in the United States and his American wife. The appeal arose from a judgment for appellee tenants awarding damages incurred as a result of the discovery of "two-way" mirrors through which the appellant landlord watched them. Appellant's motion to dismiss for lack of diversity and jurisdictional amount was denied by the lower court.
Was appellee wife a citizen of Mississippi for diversity purposes?
The reviewing court affirmed, because diversity extended to appellee foreign national, appellee wife retained her state citizenship for purposes of jurisdiction, and the jurisdictional amount was the amount claimed in good faith, not the amount awarded. The court stated that, under 28 U.S.C.S. § 1332(a)(2), the federal judicial power extended to the claim of appellee husband, a foreign national. While the domicile of the wife--and her state citizenship for purposes of diversity jurisdiction-- was generally deemed to be that of her husband, the court concluded that for diversity purposes a woman did not have her state citizenship changed solely by reason of her marriage to an alien. Furthermore, the amount in controversy was determined by the amount claimed in good faith rather than the amount awarded.
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