Baker v. Keck – Case Brief

University / Undergraduate
Modified: 19th Nov 2023
Wordcount: 363 words


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Keywords: domicile, diversity, subject matter jurisdiction, law, case briefs, jurisdiction

Baker v. Keck, 13 F.Supp. 486 (E.D. Ill. 1936).

Case Summary

Facts: Baker (P) sided with the United Mine Workers in a dispute with the Progressive Mine Workers. Baker was shot in the arm and sued several parties for conspiracy. P alleged that he was a citizen of Oklahoma and filed a diversity action in federal district court. Baker filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that P was a citizen of Illinois.

Issue: What is required to acquire a domicile for diversity jurisdiction purposes?

Holding and Rule: To acquire a domicile a person must establish a dwelling place with the intention of making it a home. That intention is not necessarily determined from the statements of declarations of the party but may be inferred from the surrounding circumstances. Less weight will be given to the party’s declarations than his acts.

In this case P had stated his intention to become a citizen of Oklahoma, worked on a community project in Oklahoma without compensation, registered to vote and became a participant in local political activities. The court held that these facts together with his sworn testimony that it was his intention to reside in Oklahoma established that the elements constituting the status of citizenship existed. The evidence that he intended to return to Illinois once the case was over was insufficient to bar citizenship when active participation in the obligations and enjoyment of the rights of citizenship existed. The motives for the United Mine Workers’ support of P were not relevant.

Disposition: Motion to dismiss denied.

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