American Motorists Ins. Company v. Starnes

PETITIONER: American Motorists Ins. Company
RESPONDENT: Starnes
LOCATION: Virginia Citizens Consumer Council

DOCKET NO.: 74-1481
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Texas

CITATION: 425 US 637 (1976)
ARGUED: Feb 23, 1976
DECIDED: May 19, 1976

ADVOCATES:
Joel W. Westbrook - for appellant
W. V. Dunnam, Jr. - for appellee

Facts of the case

Question

Media for American Motorists Ins. Company v. Starnes

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 23, 1976 in American Motorists Ins. Company v. Starnes

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 19, 1976 in American Motorists Ins. Company v. Starnes

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinions of the court in 74-1481 American Motorists Insurance Company against Starnes and in 75-145 Northern Cheyenne Tribe v. Hollowbreast will each be announced by Mr. Justice Brennan.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Now the first of these cases comes to us from the Court of Civil Appeal in Texas.

Under the Texas law when a domestic corporation challenges the venue of a seat brought against it, the plaintiff amongst other things has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence and he has a cause of action against the domestic corporation.

Where a foreign corporation is sued and challenges the venue of action against it, a similar requirement is not made by Texas law.

And this difference between the situations of the domestic and foreign corporations was challenged as a denial of equal protection and violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court of Civil Appeals of Texas rejected as without merit that equal protection claim, we affirm.

Chief Justice has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in which Mr. Justice Rehnquist joins.