JPMorgan Chase Bank v. Traffic Stream (BVI) Infrastructure Ltd., 536 U.S. 88, 4 (2002)

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90

JPMORGAN CHASE BANK v. TRAFFIC STREAM (BVI)

INFRASTRUCTURE LTD. Opinion of the Court

Jeffrey P. Minear argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Olson, Assistant Attorney General McCallum, Deputy Solicitor General Kneedler, Michael Jay Singer, Wendy M. Keats, William Howard Taft IV, James G. Hergen, and John P. Schnitker.

Craig J. Albert argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief was Lauren K. Kluger.*

Justice Souter delivered the opinion of the Court.

The question here is whether a corporation organized under the laws of the British Virgin Islands is a "citize[n] or subjec[t] of a foreign state" for the purposes of alienage diversity jurisdiction, 28 U. S. C. 1332(a)(2). We hold that it is.

I

Respondent Traffic Stream (BVI) Infrastructure Ltd. is a corporation organized under the laws of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.1 In 1998, petitioner Chase Manhattan Bank, now JPMorgan Chase Bank, agreed to finance some ventures Traffic Stream had organized to construct and operate toll roads in China, with the parties' contract to "be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York," App. 85a. Traffic Stream agreed to "submi[t] to the jurisdiction" of federal courts in Manhattan, and to "waiv[e] any immunity from [their] jurisdiction." Ibid.

*Mark N. Bravin and Peter Buscemi filed a brief for the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as amicus curiae urging reversal.

1 In 1998, the Government of the United Kingdom announced that its " 'Dependent Territories' " would, from that point on, be known as " 'Over-seas Territories.' " Apparently the change of name implied nothing more. Lodging, Amended Brief for Government of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as Amicus Curiae in No. 99-10385 (CA5), p. 7, n. 2 (available in Clerk of Court's case file).

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