A petition by defendant for removal of a cause from a state
court on the ground of citizenship which alleges that he is a
citizen of another named which none of the complainants are
citizens, is insufficient unless the record discloses that they are
citizens of other named states of which the defendant is not a
citizen, or are aliens.
This Court of its own motion uniformly takes the objection of
want of jurisdiction in the circuit court, especially as regards
A want of jurisdiction of a circuit court arising out of a
defect in the allegations of citizenship in a cause removed from a
state court, on the ground of citizenship, cannot he cured by
This is an appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States
for the Western District of Tennessee.
The suit was originally brought in the Chancery Court of Shelby
County, held in the City of Memphis in that state, in regard to a
controversy which arose concerning the title to certain real estate
situated in the State of Arkansas. The principal defendant, Asa
Hodges, was a citizen of Arkansas, and upon that ground procured an
order in the chancery court to remove the case into the Circuit
Court of the United States for the Western District of Tennessee.
The allegation upon which this removal was made is as follows:
Page 127 U. S. 323
n the Chancery Court of Shelby County, Tennessee"
"Anna E. Cameron et al."
"v. R. 4593"
"Asa Hodges et al."
"To the Hon. W. W. McDowell, Chancellor:"
"Your petitioner states that he is, and at the time of the
institution of this suit was, a citizen of the State of Arkansas
and not of the State of Tennessee, and that none of the
complainants are or were at that time citizens of the State of
Arkansas; that said suit is of a civil nature, and the matters in
controversy exceed, exclusive of costs, in value the sum of five
hundred dollars; that the controversy affects the ownership of real
estate in said State of Arkansas, and can be wholly decided between
complainants and this defendant. Wherefore he prays an order for
the removal of said cause from this court to the United States
Circuit Court for the Western District of Tennessee at Memphis, and
he tenders herewith the requisite bond, as required by law, for the
"Asa Hodges, the petitioner, being sworn, says the matters set
forth in the above petition are true as far as stated on his own
knowledge; the rest he believes to be true."
"Sworn to this October 2, 1882"
"J. M. BRADLEY, Deputy Clerk and M.
Page 127 U. S. 324
MR. JUSTICE MILLER, after stating the case, delivered the
opinion of the Court.
While this petition sets forth the citizenship of Hodges to be
in the State of Arkansas both at the commencement of the suit and
at the time of the application for removal, it does not state that
of any of the complainants, but merely says "that none of the
complainants are or were at that time citizens of said State of
Arkansas," nor have we been able to find in the record any
evidence, allegation, or statement as to the citizenship of any of
them. That the defendant Hodges was a citizen of Arkansas, in
connection with the fact that none of the complainants were
citizens of that state, is not sufficient to give jurisdiction in a
circuit court of the United States. Brown v.
8 Pet. 112, 33 U. S.
The adverse party must be a citizen of some other named
Page 127 U. S. 325
state than Arkansas, or an alien. All the complainants might be
residents and citizens of the District of Columbia, or of any
territory, and they might not be citizens of the State of
Tennessee, where the suit was brought, or indeed of any state in
the union. A citizen of a territory or of the District of Columbia
can neither bring nor sustain a suit on the ground of citizenship
in one of the circuit courts. Barney v.
6 Wall. 280.
This Court has always been very particular in requiring a
distinct statement of the citizenship of the parties and of the
particular state in which it is claimed in order to sustain the
jurisdiction of those courts, and inasmuch as the only citizenship
specifically averred and set out in the case before us is that of
the defendant Hodges, at whose instance the cause was removed, and
as that is the only ground upon which the removal was placed, it
seems clear that the circuit court did not have jurisdiction of it,
and that the suit should have been dismissed or remanded for that
reason. Robertson v. Cease, 97 U. S.
. The allegation which was made in that case that
Cease, who was the plaintiff in the action in the Circuit Court for
the Western District of Texas, "resides in the County of Mason and
State of Illinois" was held not to be a sufficient averment of his
citizenship in Illinois. See also Godfrey v. Terry,
97 U. S. 171
This Court has uniformly acted upon the principle that in order
to protect itself from collusive agreements between parties who
wish to litigate their controversies in the federal courts, it
would, on its own motion, take the objection of the want of
jurisdiction in the circuit court, especially as regards
citizenship. Hilton v. Dickinson, 108 U.
; Morgan's Executor v.
19 Wall. 81.
We have considered the application of Hodges, the defendant in
error, to supply the want of averments in regard to the citizenship
of the complainants in this suit. The difficulty here, however,
does not relate to the jurisdiction of this Court, in regard to
which evidence by affidavit has sometimes been received where the
defect was as to the amount in controversy, and perhaps in relation
to some other point. The
Page 127 U. S. 326
jurisdiction of this Court in the present case is undoubted,
but, as the previous remarks in this opinion show, the circuit
court never had jurisdiction of it, and while we may be authorized
to reverse the decree so rendered, we have no power to amend the
record so as to give jurisdiction to that court by proceedings
here. The case in this Court must be tried upon the record made in
the circuit court. In this instance, there has been a removal from
a tribunal of a state into a circuit court of the United States,
and there is no precedent known to us which authorizes an amendment
to be made, even in the circuit court, by which grounds of
jurisdiction may be made to appear which were not presented to the
state court on the motion for removal. In fact, under the fifth
section of the Act of March 3, 1875, it being manifest upon the
face of the affidavit or petition for removal in the present suit
that the case had been improperly removed into the circuit court,
it was the duty of that court at all times and at any time during
its pendency before it to have remanded the case to the tribunal of
the state where it originated. We can do no more, however, than to
reverse the action of the court below from which this appeal was
taken, because it had no jurisdiction of the case.
The decree in this case is reversed for want of jurisdiction
in the circuit court, and the case remanded for further