Brown v. Keene - 33 U.S. 112 (1834)
U.S. Supreme Court
Brown v. Keene, 33 U.S. 8 Pet. 112 112 (1834)
Brown v. Keene
33 U.S. (8 Pet.) 112
A petition filed in the District Court of Louisiana averred that the plaintiff, Richard Raynal Keene, is a citizen of the State of Maryland and that James Brown, the defendant, is a resident of the State of Louisiana, holding his fixed and permanent domicile in the Parish of St. Charles.
The decisions of this Court require that the averment of jurisdiction shall be positive and that the declaration shall state expressly the fact on which jurisdiction depends. It is not sufficient that jurisdiction may be inferred argumentatively from its averments.
A citizen of the United States may become a citizen of that state in which he has a fixed and permanent domicile, but the petition does not aver that the plaintiff is a citizen of the United States.
The Constitution extends the judicial power to "controversies between citizens of different states," and the Judicial Act gives jurisdiction "in suits between a citizen of the state where the suit is brought and a citizen of another state."
In the district court, the defendant in error, Richard R. Keene, filed a petition, in which he stated himself to be a citizen of the State of Maryland, against James Brown, a citizen or resident of the State of Louisiana, holding his fixed and permanent domicile in the Parish of St. Charles in the district aforesaid, claiming damages for an alleged nonperformance of a contract relating to the conveyance of a lot of ground, part of the batture at New Orleans.
To this petition Mr. Brown filed an answer by his attorney, Isaac T. Preston, Esq., in which he objects to the jurisdiction of the district court on the ground that the plaintiff as well as the respondent is a citizen of the State of Louisiana. The answer then proceeds to deny all the material allegations in the petition.
The district court made a decree in favor of the petitioner, from which the respondent prosecuted a writ of error to this Court.