JPMorgan Chase Bank v. Traffic Stream (BVI) Infrastructure Ltd., 536 U.S. 88, 5 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 88 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

Chase subsequently charged Traffic Stream with defaulting on its obligations. It sued in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, which found subject-matter jurisdiction under the alienage diversity statute, 28 U. S. C. 1332(a)(2), and granted summary judgment to Chase. When Traffic Stream appealed, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sua sponte raised the question whether Traffic Stream was a citizen or subject of a foreign state for the purposes of alienage diversity jurisdiction. The court relied on its precedent in Matimak Trading Co. v. Khalily, 118 F. 3d 76 (1997), in answering that because Traffic Stream was a citizen of an Overseas Territory and not an independent foreign state, jurisdiction was lacking. 251 F. 3d 334, 337 (2001). The judgment of the District Court was reversed, and the case ordered to be remanded with instructions to dismiss the complaint. Ibid. Chase was denied rehearing en banc.

Because the Second Circuit's decision conflicts with those of other Circuits, see Southern Cross Overseas Agencies, Inc. v. Wah Kwong Shipping Group Ltd., 181 F. 3d 410, 413 (CA3 1999); Koehler v. Dodwell, 152 F. 3d 304, 308 (CA4 1998); Wilson v. Humphreys (Cayman) Ltd., 916 F. 2d 1239, 1242-1243 (CA7 1990), and implicates serious issues of foreign relations, we granted certiorari, 534 U. S. 1074 (2001). We now reverse.


Title 28 U. S. C. 1332(a)(2) provides district courts with "original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000 . . . and is between . . . citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state." A "corporation of a foreign State is, for purposes of jurisdiction in the courts of the United States, to be deemed, constructively, a citizen or subject of such State." Steamship Co. v. Tugman, 106 U. S. 118, 121 (1882). Cf. Restatement (Third) of Foreign Relations Law of the United States 213 (1986) ("For purposes of international


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