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NAVARRO SAVINGS ASSN. V. LEE, 446 U. S. 458 (1980)

U.S. Supreme Court

Navarro Savings Assn. v. Lee, 446 U.S. 458 (1980)

Navarro Savings Assn. v. Lee

No. 7965

Argued March 18, 1980

Decided May 19, 1980

446 U.S. 458


Held: Respondents, as individual trustees of a business trust organized under Massachusetts law, may invoke the diversity jurisdiction of the federal courts on the basis of their own citizenship without regard to the citizenship of the trust beneficiaries. A federal court must rest jurisdiction only upon the citizenship of real parties to the controversy, and a trustee is a real party to the controversy for purposes of diversity jurisdiction when (as do respondents here) he possesses certain customary powers to hold, manage, and dispose of assets for the benefit of others. Cf. Bullard v. Cisco, 290 U. S. 179. Respondents are active trustees whose control over the assets held in their names is real and substantial. That the trust may depart from conventional forms in other respects has no bearing upon this determination. Nor does the trust's resemblance to a business enterprise alter the distinctive rights and duties of the trustees. Pp. 446 U. S. 460-466.

597 F.2d 421, affirmed.

POWELL, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and BRENNAN, STEWART, WHITE, MARSHALL, REHNQUIST, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. BLACKMUN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 446 U. S. 466.

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