The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHAW
Plaintiff moves pursuant to Rule 56 (F.R.C.P.) with supporting affidavit for summary judgment. Defendants have not filed a counter affidavit and the facts asserted in plaintiff's affidavit in accordance with Rule 56(e) stand admitted for the purposes of this motion.
Plaintiff seeks on the basis of the judgment obtained against defendants in Puerto Rico to have judgment entered in this Court against them in the sum of $ 10,100 together with interest from April 28, 1964 and costs of suit.
Defendants oppose plaintiff's motion on two grounds, to wit: (1) This Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction. (2) The judgment of the Superior Court of Puerto Rico is not entitled to full faith and credit in this Court.
Subject matter jurisdiction is alleged to exist by virtue of 28 U.S.C. § 1332 which provides in pertinent part:
'(a) The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $ 10,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between --
'(1) citizens of different States; '(d) The word 'States', as used in this section includes * * * the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.'
Defendants contend that enactment of § 1332(d) is an unconstitutional exercise of legislative power. They argue that Article III of the Constitution limits the judicial power to controversies 'between Citizens of different States * * *,' and that Congress may not extend such power. Prevailing authority is to the contrary. Congress has the power to confer such jurisdiction as is disputed here upon a federal court by virtue of Article IV, § 3 of the Constitution. Siegmund v. General Commodities Corp., 175 F.2d 952 (9th Cir. 1949); Detres v. Lions Building Corp., 234 F.2d 596 (7th Cir. 1956); Lummus Company v. Commonwealth Oil Refining Co., 195 F.Supp. 47 (D.C.S.D.N.Y.1961). Also see National Mutual Insurance Co. v. Tidewater Transfer Co., 337 U.S. 582, 69 S. Ct. 1173, 93 L. Ed. 1556 (1949).
Defendants argue that the judgment obtained by plaintiff in a competent court of jurisdiction in Puerto Rico is not entitled to full faith and credit in this Court for two reasons: (1) It is not a judgment within the contemplation of 28 U.S.C. § 1738. (2) If it be a judgment contemplated by the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1738, to that extent the statute is unconstitutional.
28 U.S.C. § 1738 provides in pertinent part that the judicial proceedings of a territory:
'* * * shall have the same full faith and credit in every court within the United States and its Territories and Possessions as they have by law or usage in the courts of such * * * Territory * * * from which they are taken.'
The distinction urged by defendants is that Puerto Rico is a commonwealth and not a territory. This distinction has not been held to have any significance with respect to the application of other statutes. In Moreno Rios v. United States, 256 F.2d 68 (5th Cir. 1958) the question was whether the Narcotic Drugs Import and Export Act continued to be applicable to Puerto Rico after it acquired commonwealth status. The Court stated at 71 & 72:
'If, then, the Congress originally intended to apply the Act to Puerto Rico, it would seem clear, in view of the general provision of the Federal Relations Act to the effect that the statutory laws of the United States not locally inapplicable shall have the same force and effect in Puerto Rico as in the United States, that it was not necessary for the Congress to alter specifically all outstanding statutes thereto previously ...