Civ Pro Help --> Erie Doctrine

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Ry2Die
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:10 pm

Civ Pro Help --> Erie Doctrine

Postby Ry2Die » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:52 pm

So Erie and the cases that follow discuss the idea of a federal common law, a common example being latches which I understand as a cousin of a statute of limitations. My question is what are some other examples of these common federal practices? Is there a place where all these practices are enumerated?

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ph14
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Re: Civ Pro Help --> Erie Doctrine

Postby ph14 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:19 am

Ry2Die wrote:So Erie and the cases that follow discuss the idea of a federal common law, a common example being latches which I understand as a cousin of a statute of limitations. My question is what are some other examples of these common federal practices? Is there a place where all these practices are enumerated?


Federal common law actually isn't that uncommon. There is federal common law in the rules of evidence (example: premotive requirement for prior consistent statements), ERISA (application of subsidiary law of wills), and a whole bunch of other places. Don't worry about this though, I don't really see this coming up in a significant way on a typical 1L Civ Pro exam.

I googled and found this article, which seems to answer your question and is interesting: https://www.law.northwestern.edu/lawrev ... Murray.pdf.

Despite Erie’s declaration that “[t]here is no federal general common law,” well-established and stable pockets of federal common law persist in several areas: cases affecting the rights and obligations of the United States, disputes between states, cases affecting international relations, and admiralty. If anything, federal common law is expanding.

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Lincoln
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Re: Civ Pro Help --> Erie Doctrine

Postby Lincoln » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:08 am

The important thing about the Erie doctrine is that it did away with the general federal common law. The result is that federal courts sitting in diversity must apply substantive state law. Erie's progeny (Hannah, Sibbach, Byrd, Gasperini, etc.) further outlined the scope of the doctrine and when federal courts are mandated to apply state law.

As ph14 says, however, there is lots of federal common law. Clearfield Trust Co v. United States held that the federal courts still had the power to create federal common law (although it's a little bit unclear when and in which areas the federal courts can or must create common law). Examples of federal common law include when to grant recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments; Bivens actions, which can best be interpreted as a federal common law cause of action against federal officials for a Constitutional violation; and a court holding someone in contempt of court, for which there is no statutory grant. The antitrust statutes are generally interpreted as allowing the federal courts to create common law rules in the area. Maritime law is mostly federal common law. All that is way beyond the scope of first-year CivPro, however. If you like the subject (i.e. if you're a nerd like me), take classes like federal courts, conflict of laws, and stuff like that.




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