How to Approach certain Erie question

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uwb09
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How to Approach certain Erie question

Postby uwb09 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:43 am

Took an old civil procedure practice exam, and this was the Erie question on it (part of a larger fact pattern, but really irrelevant)

In contract between P and D, there is a forum selection clause which reads "Venue for all disputes that may arise under this agreement or orders hereunder is the court of competent jurisdiction for Dallas, TX."

Assume that the federal court honors this clause as valid. Assume further that New York law provides that forum selection clauses of this kind are not to be enforced when both parties are New York residents (which they are, corporations), and choice is of a non-New York forum. Who should prevail?


You are already in federal court, and are given no information if there is a federal statute in conflict with this law or not.

WTF? Do I just pretend there is one and start analyzing? I was feeling good about civ pro till I took this old exam :(

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CG614
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Re: How to Approach certain Erie question

Postby CG614 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:53 am

uwb09 wrote:Took an old civil procedure practice exam, and this was the Erie question on it (part of a larger fact pattern, but really irrelevant)

In contract between P and D, there is a forum selection clause which reads "Venue for all disputes that may arise under this agreement or orders hereunder is the court of competent jurisdiction for Dallas, TX."

Assume that the federal court honors this clause as valid. Assume further that New York law provides that forum selection clauses of this kind are not to be enforced when both parties are New York residents (which they are, corporations), and choice is of a non-New York forum. Who should prevail?


You are already in federal court, and are given no information if there is a federal statute in conflict with this law or not.

WTF? Do I just pretend there is one and start analyzing? I was feeling good about civ pro till I took this old exam :(

The conflict is the Federal Practice of the courts honoring the clause and the New York law invalidating it.

dakatz
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Re: How to Approach certain Erie question

Postby dakatz » Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:54 am

Yeah, pretty much every exam we take involves an Erie question which has at least an arguable conflict with FRCP/statute/constitution. So the one exam where the conflict was like this, with some sort of federal precedent, I was totally thrown off and had no idea what to do. I guess you just analyze it as a no-conflict situation.

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uwb09
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Re: How to Approach certain Erie question

Postby uwb09 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:02 am

CG614 wrote:
uwb09 wrote:Took an old civil procedure practice exam, and this was the Erie question on it (part of a larger fact pattern, but really irrelevant)

In contract between P and D, there is a forum selection clause which reads "Venue for all disputes that may arise under this agreement or orders hereunder is the court of competent jurisdiction for Dallas, TX."

Assume that the federal court honors this clause as valid. Assume further that New York law provides that forum selection clauses of this kind are not to be enforced when both parties are New York residents (which they are, corporations), and choice is of a non-New York forum. Who should prevail?


You are already in federal court, and are given no information if there is a federal statute in conflict with this law or not.

WTF? Do I just pretend there is one and start analyzing? I was feeling good about civ pro till I took this old exam :(

The conflict is the Federal Practice of the courts honoring the clause and the New York law invalidating it.

How does Erie bode on federal practices, wouldn't that fall under the old school "general law"? It's not a federal question claim, so federal common law doesn't really fit.

Ugh, can't wait for this crap to be over

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CG614
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Re: How to Approach certain Erie question

Postby CG614 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:41 am

uwb09 wrote:
CG614 wrote:
uwb09 wrote:Took an old civil procedure practice exam, and this was the Erie question on it (part of a larger fact pattern, but really irrelevant)

In contract between P and D, there is a forum selection clause which reads "Venue for all disputes that may arise under this agreement or orders hereunder is the court of competent jurisdiction for Dallas, TX."

Assume that the federal court honors this clause as valid. Assume further that New York law provides that forum selection clauses of this kind are not to be enforced when both parties are New York residents (which they are, corporations), and choice is of a non-New York forum. Who should prevail?


You are already in federal court, and are given no information if there is a federal statute in conflict with this law or not.

WTF? Do I just pretend there is one and start analyzing? I was feeling good about civ pro till I took this old exam :(

The conflict is the Federal Practice of the courts honoring the clause and the New York law invalidating it.

How does Erie bode on federal practices, wouldn't that fall under the old school "general law"? It's not a federal question claim, so federal common law doesn't really fit.

Ugh, can't wait for this crap to be over


Look at Walker again, the conflict is between a federal practice and a state law.

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SeymourShowz
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Re: How to Approach certain Erie question

Postby SeymourShowz » Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:03 am

In this case you have a federal practice that conflicts with a state common law. The court will follow the federal practice unless doing so would violate the "twin aims" of Erie, that is, it would (1) encourage forum shopping, and (2) lead to the inequitable administration of the laws. Furthermore, the court may use the Byrd balancing approach for important questions of federal importance, typically that which rises to, or close to, a constitutional level. In this case, the difference in the interpretation of the forum selection clause would clearly lead to forum shopping, because it would allow parties to chose the federal court system if they wanted the bargained for venue, or the NY state courts if they wanted a different venue. Furthermore, it would lead to the inequitable administration of NY contract law in state and federal courts. This might be described as an inverse Byrd approach, where state interests in interpreting contract law are so profound that they outweigh any interest the federal courts might have in making similar interpretations of forum selection clauses. Therefore, the state interpretation of the forum selection clause should apply.

This seems like a pretty cut and dry case in favor of the state law, so I'm not sure how to argue for the other side. I guess you can always try to make an argument that the federal courts have a strong interest in maintaining uniformity in the federal courts, and following the state practice would undermine that interest. I think it's a stretch but it's probably worth throwing in there.

I have my civ pro final in an hour and a half...hopefully I just got that right.

$$$$$$
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Re: How to Approach certain Erie question

Postby $$$$$$ » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:14 am

this does not even sound like a vertical choice of law question. You are either applying the writing of the contract or the NY state law in regards to jurisdiction.


edit: in fact this sounds like a jurisdiction/transfer of venue question mashed togehter

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worldwithoutend
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Re: How to Approach certain Erie question

Postby worldwithoutend » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:26 am

SeymourShowz wrote:This seems like a pretty cut and dry case in favor of the state law, so I'm not sure how to argue for the other side.


If the party seeking to transfer or dismiss makes a motion pursuant to 28 USC 1404 or 1406, then the issue is whether state law or federal statute controls. The first question would be whether the statute is sufficiently broad to cover the issue before the court. If the federal statute controls, it must be applied if it represents a valid exercise of Congressional authority under the Constitution.

Sections 1404 and 1406, by giving the federal courts authority to consider the convenience of the parties and the interests of justice in determining whether to transfer to another district or division, are sufficiently broad to cover the dispute. The statutes do represent a valid exercise of Congressional authority to make laws governing procedure in the federal courts. Therefore, federal statutory law controls.

That would not end the controversy though. The district court, in applying federal statute, could consider state law as one factor in its balance of interests. But that's how you would argue the other side.

See Stewart Organization, Inc v. Ricoh Corp.
Last edited by worldwithoutend on Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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CG614
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Re: How to Approach certain Erie question

Postby CG614 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:05 am

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Last edited by CG614 on Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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worldwithoutend
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Re: How to Approach certain Erie question

Postby worldwithoutend » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:19 am

Weird. I just clicked the quote button. Went back and changed it (duty to supplement or correct).




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