This is a suit under the Employers' Liability Act for personal injuries. The injuries were inflicted in Connecticut, the plaintiff, the petitioner, is a citizen and resident of Connecticut, and the defendant, the respondent, is a Connecticut corporation, although doing business in New York where the suit was brought. Upon motion the trial Court dismissed the action, assuming that the statutes of the State gave it a discretion in the matter, and its action was affirmed by the Appellate Division, 223 App. Div. 782, and by the Court of Appeals, 248 N.Y. 580. Thus it is established that the statute purports to give to the Court the power that it exercised. But the plaintiff says that the Act as construed is void under Article IV, Section 2, of the Constitution of the United States: "The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States." A subordinate argument is added that the jurisdiction is imposed by the Employers' Liability Act when as here the Court has authority to entertain the suit. C., Title 45, § 56. Acts of April 22, 1908, c. 149, § 6, 35 Stat. 66, April 5, 1910, c. 143, § 1, 36 Stat. 291. That section gives concurrent jurisdiction to the Courts of the United States and the States and forbids removal if the suit is brought in a State court.
Construed as it has been, and we believe will be construed, the statute applies to citizens of New York as well as to others and puts them on the same footing. There is no discrimination between citizens as such, and none between non-residents with regard to these foreign causes of action. A distinction of privileges according to residence may be based upon rational considerations and has been upheld by this Court, emphasizing the difference between citizenship and residence, in La Tourette v. McMaster, 248 U.S. 465. Followed in Maxwell v. Bugbee, 250 U.S. 525, 539. It is true that in Blake v. McClung, 172 U.S. 239, 247, `residents' was taken to mean citizens in a Tennessee statute of a wholly different scope, but whatever else may be said of the argument in that opinion (compare p. 262, ibid.) it cannot prevail over the later decision in La Tourette v. McMaster, and the plain intimations of the New York cases to which we have referred. There are manifest reasons for preferring residents in access to often overcrowded Courts, both in convenience and in the fact that broadly speaking it is they who pay for maintaining the Courts concerned.
As to the grant of jurisdiction in the Employers' Liability Act, that statute does not purport to require State Courts to entertain suits arising under it, but only to empower them to do so, so far as the authority of the United States is concerned. It may very well be that if the Supreme Court of New York were given no discretion, being otherwise competent, it would be subject to a
THE CHIEF JUSTICE, MR. JUSTICE VAN DEVANTER and MR. JUSTICE BUTLER dissent.