Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortgage Corp.

The sue-and-be-sued provision in Fannie Mae’s statutory charter does not confer federal jurisdiction over suits against Fannie Mae or allow it to remove those suits to federal court absent some other basis for federal jurisdiction.  Reversing the Ninth Circuit (Lightfoot v. Cendant Mort. Corp. (9th Cir. 2014) 769 F.3d 681), this decision holds that the sue-and-be-sued provision in Fannie Mae’s statutory charter does not confer federal jurisdiction over suits against Fannie Mae or allow it to remove those suits to federal court absent some other basis for federal jurisdiction.  Fannie Mae’s sue and be sued clause states that it may sue and be sued in any court of competent jurisdiction, state or federal.  The mention of federal courts gets Fannie Mae half way there, but the “court of competent jurisdiction” erects a barrier.  A court of competent jurisdiction is one with subject matter jurisdiction derived from some other source apart from the sue-and-be-sued clause.

United States Supreme Court (Sotomayor, J.); January 18, 2017; 2017 WL 182911

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