Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hertz Corp. v. Friend case brief

Hertz Corp. v. Friend case brief summary
130 S.Ct. 1181 (2010)

Respondent California employees sued defendant employer in California state court alleging violations of California's wage and hour laws. The employer removed, claiming diversity jurisdiction. Finding that California was the employer's "principal place of business" under 28 U.S.C.S. § 1332(c)(1), the district court ordered a remand, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed. The employer's petition for certiorari was granted.


  • Contrary to the employees' argument, 28 U.S.C.S. § 1453(c) did not deprive the U.S. Supreme Court of jurisdiction to review a case. 
  • "Principal place of business" under § 1332(c)(1) referred to where a corporation's officers directed, controlled, and coordinated the corporation's activities, a "nerve center." 
  • It would normally be a corporation's headquarters--provided it was not simply an office for board meetings. 
  • The "nerve center" was a single place. 
  • A more general business activities test led to incorrectly measuring the amount of business activities in a state. 
  • The simple "nerve center" jurisdictional rule promoted predictability. 
  • The "nerve center" approach was simple to apply, comparatively speaking.Section 1332(c)(1)'s legislative history suggested "principal place of business" was not to be interpreted to be complex. 
  • The employer's unchallenged declaration suggested its center of direction, control, and coordination, its "nerve center," and its corporate headquarters, were one and the same, located in New Jersey. 
  • But, the employees would have a fair opportunity to litigate that issue on remand.
A unanimous Court vacated the Ninth Circuit's judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings.

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