Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Outline - Civil Procedure - V - Choice of Law

Civil Procedure (2005-2006)


  1. History
    1. Swift v. Tyson
      1. Claims created by federal codified law, federal law
      2. Claims created by state codified law, state law and state court interpretations
      3. Common law claims, “general” substantive federal common law
    2. Taxicab – A company reincorporated in a different state and brought suit in federal court, which was thought more friendly to businesses than state courts, whose judges are elected
    3. Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins – Overturned Swift, and declared that there would be no federal common law.
  2. Erie Doctrine
    Rule Choice of Law Authority
    Standard of care State law Erie (1938)
    Conflict of laws State law Klaxon (1941)
    Statute of limitations State law York (1945)
    Burden of proof State law Cities Service Oil v. Dunlap
    Burden of pleading Federal Palmer v. Hoffman
    Discovery Federal Sibbach v. Wilson & Co.
    Venue transfers and forum selection Federal Stewart v. Ricoh
    Agreement to arbitrate State law Bernhardt v. Polygraphic
  3. Erie Today
      Federal Court State Court
    Federal statutory or Constitutional claim Substance: federal
    Procedure: federal
    Substance: federal
    Procedure: state
    State statutory, Constitutional, or common law claim Substance: state
    Procedure: federal
    Substance: state
    Procedure: state
  4. Distinguishing Substantive and Procedural Law
    1. Conflicts of laws – State rules apply [Erie]
    2. Outcome determination – If a law affects the outcome, it is substantive, and state law must be applied. [Guaranty Trust Co. v. York – Statute of limitations is substantive]
    3. Balancing test [Byrd – Allocation of roles of judge and jury is essential to federal system, so federal law applies]:
      1. If federal interest greater than state interest, and probability of outcome determinancy is low, federal law applies
      2. If federal interest is less than state interest, and probability of outcome determinancy is high, state law applies
    4. Hanna Test – Where a Federal Rule covers same issue as state law, unless ex ante Federal Rule appears to alter substantive rights or to be outcome determinative, use Federal Rule. Note: This displaces York’s outcome determination test and Byrd’s balancing test. [Hanna – Rule 4 enforces substantive rights and does not alter them; Rule 4 complies with REA and is thus an Act of Congress, so RDA and Erie don’t apply]

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