Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rouse v. Wells Fargo (9th Cir. - March 27, 2014)

You've got to be a monster civil procedure geek to read nearly twenty single-spaced pages about what Congress meant when it said that, for purposes of diversity jurisdiction, national banks are deemed to be “citizens of the States in which they are respectively located.”  Does "located" mean where they have branches, or do a substantial amount of business, or simply where their headquarters are?

I am, however, precisely such a geek.  So I read the thing.  (Which is more than I can say for the plaintiffs/appellees.  Who didn't file a brief, didn't enter an appearance, and didn't even respond to letters from the Ninth Circuit about whether they wanted oral argument.  Clearly, they care deeply about the resolution of this appeal.  Not.)

Judge McKeown's majority opinion holds that the right rule is that they're only "located" where their headquarters are.  Judge Gould's dissent says that he "regrets" that he's constrained to disagree, and thinks that especially for entities like Wells Fargo -- a traditional California entity and one with its principal place of business here -- it's silly to say they're not "located" here.

But Judge McKeown gets Judge Bybee's vote.  So there you have it.