For diversity purposes, a legal entity’s citizenship is determined by the citizenship of all its members, except for the instance of corporations for which Congress has specified a different rule. A real estate investment trust is a legal entity and is not a corporation, so it is a citizen of every state of which any of its members is a citizen. The fact that a trust traditionally was a citizen of only the state of which the trustee was a citizen depended on the common law rule that a trust was not a legal entity and could neither sue nor be sued. Though it bears the label “trust,” a real estate investment trust is not governed by the same rule because it is a separate legal entity which can sue and be sued.
United States Supreme Court (Sotomayor, J.); March 7, 2016; 2016 WL 854159