This is an extract of our Ascertaining Applicable Law Erie Doctrine document, which we sell as part of our Civil Procedure I Outlines collection written by the top tier of Thomas Jefferson School Of Law students.
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ASCERTAINING APPLICABLE LAW - ERIE DOCTRINE
1) Rules of Decision Act (28 U.S.C. SS 1652) o Federal courts must apply state law except where otherwise required by the United States Constitution, the laws of the United States, or treaties o Cases tried in federal court based on a federal question are decided by federal law o Issue of whether state or federal law applies in diversity cases is less clear. o Swift
? Interpreted the RDA to require federal courts to apply state constitutional and statutory law but not state common law
? Swift doctrine permitted federal judges to displace state common law with federal general common law in diversity cases
? The laws of the several states of the RDA included only state statutory law and NOT state common law. 2) Erie Doctrine; "Substance versus Procedure" Test o Overruled Swift
? Concluded that there is no federal general common law
? Found that the RDA did not distinguish between state law that is legislatively created and state law that is judicially created, and thus the Act did not confer upon federal courts the power to determine substantive common law
? The laws of the several states of the RDA included state statutory law AND state common law
? Established that in federal diversity cases, matters characterized as substantive would be governed by state law, and those characterized as procedural would be governed by federal law o Why did Erie overrule Swift?
* Swift gave federal courts jurisdiction over state law claims that was not authorized by the ConstitutionMisinterpreted RDA
* Swift includes common law as well as statutes
* Law review article that stated you needed to include C/L and statutory lawFailed
* Swift failed in its goal of achieving uniformity across state and federal law
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