Alien + Alien = Remand

Su, a citizen of Taiwan, served on the board of Vantage, an offshore drilling contractor. Vantage is incorporated in the Cayman Islands with its principal place of business in Texas.  Vantage sued Su in Texas state court for breach of fiduciary duty and related claims.   Su removed, remand was denied, and the district court certified the jurisdictional issue for interlocutory appeal.  Vantage Drilling Co. v. Su, No. 13-20379 (Jan. 7, 2014). The Fifth Circuit reversed and ordered remand, relying primarily upon  Chick Kam Choo v. Exxon Corp., 764 F.2d 1148 (5th Cir. 1985).  Section 1332(a)(2) requires complete diversity, and section 1332(c)(1) deems a corporation a citizen of “every State and foreign state” in which it is incorporated — thus, “there are aliens on both sides of the litigation, complete diversity is lacking, and there can be no diversity jurisdiction.”  Su argued that Choo could be read to allow federal jurisdiction to protect against local bias, but the Court rejected that argument as inconsistent with the statute.

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