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Martinez v. Associacion de Senoras, 213 U.S. 20 (1909)

Martinez v. Associacion de Senoras

Damas del Santo Asilo de Ponce

No. 83

Argued January 21, 1909

Decided February 23, 1909

213 U.S. 20


All relations between Spain and Porto Rico having been severed by the cession of that territory by the Treaty of Paris, a corporation organized under the laws of Spain for purely local and charitable purposes in Porto Rico is not to be regarded as a citizen of Spain within the meaning of the provisions of the Act of April 12, 1900, c.191, 31 Stat. 77, as amended by the Act of March 2, 1901, c. 812, 31 Stat. 953, relating to the jurisdiction of the District Court of the United States for Porto Rico, nor is such a corporation a citizen of the United States within the meaning of such provision; if it is a citizen of any country, it is a citizen of Porto Rico.

The people of Porto Rico have been created by Congress and exist as a body politic subject only to the usual reserved power of annulment of territorial legislation, and the government of Porto Rico under the organic act is charged with the creation and control of corporations strictly local in character, and corporations of that nature organized prior to the cession of the island are to be regarded for jurisdictional purposes as citizens of Porto Rico.

While, by Article IX of the Treaty of Paris between Spain and the United States, provision is made for Spanish subjects, natives of the peninsula, to preserve their allegiance to Spain, that article has no reference to corporations; nor is there any other provision of the treaty providing therefor. Quaere, and not decided, what the citizenship now is of Spanish corporations doing business in Porto Rico prior to its cession by the Treaty of Paris to the United States.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 213 U. S. 21

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