Mas v. Perry – Case Brief Summary
Summary of Mas v. Perry, 489 F.2d 1396 (5th Cir. 1974).
Mr. Mas and Ms. Mas (P) were graduate assistants at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. After their wedding at Ms. Mas’s home in Jackson, Mississippi they returned to Baton Rouge and rented an apartment from Perry (D). The plaintiffs later discovered that Perry had been spying on them through two-way mirrors in their bedroom and bathroom during the first few months of their marriage.
The Mases brought this lawsuit against Perry in federal district court in Louisiana. The husband was a citizen of France and did not have permanent resident status in the United States and the wife was a resident of Mississippi. At the time this lawsuit was filed the couple lived in Louisiana but had not decided where they would live after Mr. Mas completed his Ph.D.
Perry moved to dismiss on the grounds that there was no diversity of citizenship between the parties because the Mases and Perry were all domiciled in Louisiana. The district court denied Perry’s motion and the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs. The defendant appealed.
- What is required in order for a party to change its place of domicile?
Holding and Rule
- Domicile requires two things: taking up residence in a different domicile with the intention to remain there. A person remains a domicile of one place until that person has adopted a new domicile through physical presence and intent to remain.
Domicile is determined as a matter of federal law, not state law. The state of a person’s residence is not necessarily the state of domicile for purposes of establishing diversity jurisdiction.
Mr. Mas can establish diversity jurisdiction against Perry in any case because 28 USC 1332(a)(4) does not apply to aliens who are not permanent residents of the United States, regardless of their place of domicile.
Formerly, the domicile of a wife was deemed to be that of her husband. The court abandoned that rule in this case and held that for diversity purposes a woman’s domicile does not change solely by marrying an alien.
Judgment for Mas affirmed.
See Sibbach v. Wilson & Co. for a law school civil procedure case brief involving an action in diversity in which the Supreme Court held that the promulgation of a procedural rule affecting a substantial right does not necessarily exceed the Court’s authority under the Rules Enabling Act.