Saadeh v. Farouki

107 F.3d 52 (D.C. Cir. 1997)

Yeazell, pp. 236-239


Facts: The plaintiff is a Greek citizen.  The defendant is a permanent resident of the United States residing in Maryland but whose citizenship is Jordanian.  The plaintiff sued for breach of contract in federal court, citing diversity jurisdiction, and prevailed on the merits at trial.


Procedural Posture: The defendant appealed on the merits.  The Court of Appeals asked the parties to write briefs on jurisdiction.


Issue: Did Farouki qualify as a “citizen of a State” under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)?


Rule: The statute states that at least one of the parties in a dispute must be a “citizen of a State” in order for the federal courts to have diversity jurisdiction.  Furthermore, the statute says that for the purposes of the section in question “an alien admitted to the United States for permanent residence shall be deemed a citizen of the State in which such alien is domiciled”.


Analysis: The court chooses to liberally interpret the statute because it feels that a literal reading would cause an undesirable and unintended result, that is, that federal diversity jurisdiction could exist over a dispute involving only foreign litigants.


The court uses the legislative history to interpret the amendment to the statute as a move to narrow federal diversity jurisdiction rather than broaden it.  The statute apparently was intended to reduce the federal caseload.  The court finds that the statute was intended to eliminate federal diversity jurisdiction between a United States citizen and a resident alien living in the same state as that United States citizen.


Conclusion: The case was dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.


Back to Diversity Jurisdiction

Back to Casebook Notes