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Civil Procedure II
Quinnipiac University School of Law
Abbott, Melanie Beth

Civil Procedure II Outline – Prof. Abbott
 
 
·                    Erie Doctrine
o                         Pre-Erie: Swift v. Tyson, which said a court could adopt whatever law it felt most applicable.
o                         Erie Railroad v. Tompkins – P. 225 – Tompkins got his arm lopped off in a train accident. He sued in Southern District of N.Y. to try to use Swift and have the court NOT use Pennsylvania law.
·                                Federal courts must apply the law that would be applied by the courts of the state in which they sit (overruled Swift)
·                                Federal courts must follow and apply both state statutes and state case law in deciding cases unless the case is governed by federal statutes or the United Stated Constitution
·                                Brandeis and the Court attack Swift on several fronts:
     Swift relied on a bogus interpretation of the Rules of Decision Act, as proven by Chuck Warren.
     Swift has had disastrously unfair results in practice.
     Swift is unconstitutional because it usurps part of the power that the Constitution left to the states to make their own laws (statutes and case law).
                 Guaranty Trust v. York – P. 233 – issue was whether a federal diversity court must apply the state statute of limitations to a claim, or whether it was free to apply its own more flexible doctrine to the case
                       In all cases where a federal court is exercising jurisdiction solely because of the diversity of citizenship of the parties, the outcome of the litigation in the federal court should be substantially the same
                       The court looked at the intent of the ruling in Erie and asserts that it doesn’t matter whether state law is substantive or procedural. Either way it should be applied.
                 Byrd v. Blue Ridge Rural Electrical Cooperative – P. 237 – issue was whether the judge or the jury should determine the plaintiff’s status as an “employee” of the defendant. State law said judge should, federal law said jury should.
                       In this case, federal doctrine (and U.S. 7th Amendment) of allowing jury trials wins.
                       However, this is because it would not be outcome-determinative . If it would definitely be a different result than state law, state law would trump. This doesn’t actually overrule Guaranty Trust.
                       “We do not think the likelihood of a different result is so strong as to require the federal practice of jury determination of disputed factual issues to yield to the state rule in the interest of uniformity of outcome.”
                 Hanna v. Plumer – P. 240 – Hanna, from Ohio, sued the estate of Osgood from Massachusetts, over a car accident in South Carolina.
                       Plaintiff served process by leaving summons and complaint at his house with someone of “suitable age and discretion.” Federal rules say that the summons would be acceptable. Massachusetts statute required hand-in service.
                       Under the previous doctrine, this is outcome determinative, and state rules would triumph.
                       The Court developed a new way of analyzing the typical “relatively unguided Erie choice” between an uncodified federal practice and a state law. 
                       They say the outcome-determinative test is not absolute.
                       Erie is meant to remedy problems arising from big differences between state and federal law, and not insubstantial ones. Court felt difference between MA law and FRCP is not a large one.
                       To determine which law should apply in this kind of case, analyze policy reasons of Erie.
     Stop forum-shopping
     Avoid unfair differences in administration of justice between state and federal courts.
                       Court says that these competing rules, while they are outcome-determinative, have little to no relevance to the selection of a forum.
                       The Court also lays out an entirely different analysis for cases where an official FRCP conflicts with state law.
     Theoretically, one must consider whether the initial delegation (the Rules Enabling Act) was constitutional – it is, Sibbach v. Wilson.
     Does the Rule promulgated under the authority of the Rules Enabling Act in fact fit its description: “rules of practice and procedure”?
     Is the procedure in the Rule constitutional? (As a negative example – if Rule 65 allowed seizure of real property without notice or special circumstances)
§                                      If these two tests are passed, it must be applied, even if it differs from the state practice. Otherwise, state practice applies.
·                                No case has ever held a Rule to be beyond the scope of the Rules Enabling Act (Rules 23 and 68 are apparently close to the line)
·                    Punitive Damages
o                         State Farm v. Campbell – P. 274 – Jury gave a $145 million punitive damages award when full compensatory damages

rit of replevin before Fuentes was even notified of the proceeding.  It turned out that in Florida, the procedure to get a writ of replevin was very minimal.  The sheriff went and took the stuff.  Fuentes sued, saying that her Fourteenth Amendment right to due process had been violated.
§                                      The court can only take stuff without a prior hearing in extreme circumstances:
1.                                          The seizure is directly necessary to secure an important governmental or general public interest.
2.                                          There has been a special need for very prompt action.
3.                                          The State has kept strict control over its monopoly of legitimate force: the person initiating the seizure has been a government official responsible for determining, under the standards of a narrowly drawn statute, that it was necessary and justified in the particular instance.
·                    Pleadings – Chapter 6 – P. 333
o                         Rule 8:
·                                Pleading must contain:
§                                      Short and plain statement of the grounds for court’s jurisdiction
§                                      Short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief
§                                      A demand for the relief sought (alternative reliefs are okay to list)
·                                Defenses, Admissions and Denials
§                                      A party must
1.                                          State in short and plain terms its defenses to each claim asserted against it
2.                                          Admit or deny the allegations
§                                      A denial must respond to the substance
§                                      A “general denial” denies all allegations. Otherwise, must specifically deny designed allegations, or generally deny all except those specifically admitted