Monday, November 01, 2004

Where is a national banking association located for purposes of federal jurisdiction?

In Wachovia Bank v. Schmidt, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Luttig, joined by Ninth Circuit Senior Judge Beezer with Judge King dissenting, held that a national banking association is "located" wherever it has local branch banks, and therefore there was no diversity jurisdiction for a case between South Carolina residents and a national banking association with branches in South Carolina. The opinions acknowledge that there is a split between the circuit courts on this issue, with the Seventh and Fifth circuits going the other way. Both sides pull out the stops in their arguments over statutory construction.

The disagreement between the majority and the dissent centers on the meaning of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion which by its very name is Bougas.

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