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Aly v. Hanzada for Import & Export Co., Ltd.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 23, 2017

Hassanin Aly Plaintiff- Appellee
v.
Hanzada for Import & Export Company, LTD Defendant-Appellant National Beef Packing Company, LLC Defendant

          Submitted: February 9, 2017

         Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri - St. Joseph

          Before SMITH, [1] GRUENDER, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

          BENTON, Circuit Judge.

         Hassanin Aly obtained a jury verdict and judgment for breach of contract against Hanzada for Import & Export Company, Ltd. Hanzada appeals, claiming the district court:[2] (1) lacked subject matter jurisdiction; (2) lacked personal jurisdiction; and (3) erred in not applying the statute of frauds. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.

         I.

         Hanzada is an Egyptian company that imports and exports beef. Aly is a dual citizen of Egypt and the United States. Since 2001, he has resided in Ohio for 8 to 9 months of the year.

         In Egypt, Aly met Samy Shaheen, an Egyptian citizen and an owner of Hanzada. Shaheen asked Aly to help Hanzada import beef from the United States. In 2005, Aly facilitated a contract for Hanzada to purchase beef from Greater Omaha Packing. Shipments began in early 2006. Hanzada compensated Aly with beef products.

         In August 2006, Aly and Shaheen drove to Missouri to view the headquarters of National Beef, Inc. During the drive, Aly claims they made an oral contract: if Aly could "get National Beef for Hanzada, " Hanzada would pay Aly $10 per metric ton of beef purchased. Aly says Shaheen reaffirmed the contract in Missouri near National Beef's headquarters and again on a plane ride to Kansas.

         Aly established a relationship with National Beef. In August 2008, Hanzada began buying product from National Beef. Hanzada did not pay Aly under the terms of the oral contract.

         In 2012, Aly sued Hanzada for breach of contract. Hanzada moved to dismiss, asserting no subject matter or personal jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion. In its answer and amended answer, Hanzada again challenged jurisdiction. It moved for summary judgment, invoking Missouri's statute of frauds. The court denied the motion (and later Hanzada's motions for judgment as a matter of law on the same issue). A jury found in favor of Aly, awarding $1, 591, 286.60 in damages. Hanzada appeals.

         II.

         Hanzada argues the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the parties were not diverse. This court reviews "whether diversity jurisdiction exists de novo, " and factual findings for clear error. Branson Label, Inc. v. City of Branson, Mo., 793 F.3d 910, 915 (8th Cir. 2015). The plaintiff bears the "burden of proving subject matter jurisdiction." V S Ltd. P'ship v. Dep't of Hous. & Urban Dev., 235 F.3d 1109, 1112 (8th Cir. 2000).

         "The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000 . . . and is between . . . citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state . . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(2). See U.S. Const. Art. III, ยง 2 ("The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases . . . between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects."). The district court found: (1) Aly is a citizen of Egypt and the United States; (2) when Aly sued, he was domiciled in Ohio; and (3) Hanzada is an Egyptian citizen. Hanzada did not challenge ...


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