Brendan Cullen, Jeff Wall and Judson Littleton Co-author Law360 Article on Supreme Court Diversity Jurisdiction Case

March 21, 2016
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On March 21, Law360 published an article by Messrs. Cullen, Wall and Littleton titled “Investment Trusts Must Trust Their Members’ Citizenships.” The article explored the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Americold Realty Trust v. ConAgra Foods. The decision held that the real estate investment trust Americold, as an unincorporated legal entity, has the citizenship of each of its members, which, in the case of a trust, are its shareholders. The implication is that it is difficult for a large trust with many shareholders to remove litigation to federal court under diversity jurisdiction, which requires that every plaintiff be a citizen of a different state from every defendant. “The long-standing distinction for diversity jurisdiction purposes between corporations and all other artificial legal entities is here to stay,” Messrs. Cullen, Wall and Littleton concluded. “The only relevant question for diversity jurisdiction purposes will be who the entity’s ‘members’ are under the relevant state law, and larger entities with broad member bases should be prepared to litigate more often in state court.”