State Law in Federal Courts: Erie and Its Entailments (Byrd v. Blue Ridge…
State Law in Federal Courts: Erie and Its Entailments
Chapter 4 (pp. 255-293)
1652- The laws of several states, except where the Constitution or Acts of Congress otherwise require or provide, shall be regarded as rules of decisions in civil actions in the courts of the United States, in cases where they apply. :star:
Erie Railroad v. Tompkins (1938)
Pg. 261- Except in matters governed by the Federal Constitution or by Acts of Congress, the law to be applied in any case is the law of the State. And whether the law of the State shall be declared by its Legislature in a statute or by its highest court in a decision is not a matter of federal concern.
There is no federal general common law. Congress has no power to declare substantive rules of common law applicable in a State, whether....
In a diversity case, the Federal courts apply State Substantive law and Federal Procedural law :star:
Hanna v. Plumer (1965)
State law required personal tagging, however the federal law did not require personal service and permitted substituted service under rule 4.
Modifies the old York test, provide forum shopping and should apply federal law. 2. Federal law controls under the supremacy clause.
Swift v. Tyson: "law of the several states" = state statutes but not judge made law.
Byrd v. Blue Ridge Rural Electrical Cooperative: Difference between state and federal. State: judge decides whether the plaintiff is an employee. Federal: jury decided whether or not an employee.
Matters of "form and mode" where applying separate federal practice is unlikely to affect outcome.
Where applying separate federal practice is likely to affect outcome, apply the state law.
Where applying the federal practice would likely affect the outcome, but there are important countervailing federal considerations.
Guaranty Trust Co. v. York
State: Statute of Limitations would have barred the plaintiff's claim. Federal: the doctrine of "laches," which involves a more flexible inquiry, would have allowed plaintiff's claim to proceed.
"If follow federal practice leads to a different result then it is substantive law." "If ignoring the State law would be a different result then it is substantive law."
Federal Case of Diversity where state law differs from federal law.
Uncodified federal practice. NO FEDERAL LAW ON POINT :star:
Erie could additionally apply to supplemental claims
Matters of pure substantive law= State
Matters of form and mode, where ignoring state law/ applying separate federal practice is NOT likely to encourage forum shopping/substantially affect outcome = federal
Is likely to encourage forum shopping= state
4.Important countervailing federal considerations= federal