SMJ, PJ, Venue Essay
Short Essay Question from Midterm

Multiple Choice from the Midterm

 Here is the answer key for the two multiple choice questions that were on the minterm:

1.     Which of the following cases is least likely to have federal subject matter jurisdiction if brought in federal court? Assume that any relevant amount in controversy requirement is satisfied.

a.         P (a German national admitted for permanent residency in the United States and domiciled in New York) sues D (a U.S. national domiciled in New York) for violation of federal securities law.

Wrong. This has federal question SMJ under 28 USC 1331.

b.         P (a German national admitted for permanent residency in the United States and domiciled in California) sues D (a U.S. national domiciled in New York) for violation of German law.

Wrong. This has federal SMJ under 28 USC 1332(a)(2). It is a suit between “citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state.” P’s being admitted for permanent residency is irrelevant.

c.         P1 (a German national domiciled in Germany) and P2 (a U.S. national domiciled in New York) sue D1 (a U.S. national domiciled in California) and D2 (a German national domiciled in Germany) for violations of New York law.

Wrong. This has federal SMJ under 28 USC 1332(a)(3). It is a suit between "citizens of different States and in which citizens or subjects of a foreign state are additional parties."

d.         P1 (a German national domiciled in Germany) and P2 (a U.S. national domiciled in New York) sue D (a French national domiciled in France) for violations of New York law.

Correct. This does not have federal SMJ. In particular, it does not fall under 28 USC 1332(a)(3) because it is not a suit between "citizens of different States and in which citizens or subjects of a foreign state are additional parties" (citizens of US states are not on each side) and it is not is a suit between "citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state" (because citizens or subjects of foreign states are on each side). This scenario was discussed in class. 

e.         P (a German national illegally in the United States but domiciled in New York) sues D (a U.S. national domiciled in New York) for violation of New York law.

Wrong. It has SMJ under 1332(a)(2), which speaks of SMJ for suits between “citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state, except that the district courts shall not have original jurisdiction under this subsection of an action between citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state who are lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States and are domiciled in the same State.” P is not admitted for permanent residence (he is here illegally). So he is a German for the purposes of 1332 and this is a suit between "citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state under 1332(a)(2). 

2. P is considering bringing suit in federal court against two co-defendants: the D1 Corp. (incorporated in Massachusetts) and D2 (an individual). P’s suit is for damages that she received from a defective toaster. The D1 Corp. owns a chain of large hardware stores, with 30 stores in Massachusetts, 10 in the Albany, New York area (in the Northern District of New York), and 10 in the New York City area (in the Southern District of New York). The D1 Corp’s headquarters is in Massachusetts. The D1 Corp advertises and has employees or property only in areas where it has hardware stores. D2 lives in Connecticut but works in New York City (in the Southern District of New York). While visiting Albany, New York, D2 bought a toaster from a D1 Corp hardware store. D2 took it with him to Idaho, as a gift to P, who lives in Idaho. When P used the toaster, it malfunctioned, severely injuring P. Which is the most accurate list of federal districts that have venue for the case of P v. D1 and D2?



a. District of Massachusetts, District of Connecticut, Northern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of Idaho.


b. District of Massachusetts, District of Connecticut, Northern District of New York, Southern District of New York.


c. Northern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of Idaho.


d. Northern District of New York, Southern District of New York.


e. Northern District of New York, District of Idaho.

This involves a simple application of the venue statute, 28 USC 1391. There are two main ways to get venue in a district under 1391(b). The first, in 1391(b)(1), requires that all the defendants reside in the same state. That’s not true here. D2 clearly resides (that is, is domiciled) in the District of Connecticut. (As an individual, it does not matter for D2’s residence that it would be subject to PJ in New York.) And the D1 Corp clearly does not reside in the District of Connecticut. As a corporation it has residence in any district where it would be subject to PJ. And it clearly is not subject to PJ in Connecticut, since it has no stores or any other contact there. 

So we need to use the second method, in 1391(b)(2), which says that venue exists in the districts “in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred.” That includes the Northern District of New York (where the toaster was bought) and the District of Idaho (where it caused harm). So e was the right answer.

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