Erie Doctrine

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phillyboy101
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Erie Doctrine

Postby phillyboy101 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:18 pm

Just trying to get organized here. Is a Shady Grove analysis proper only when there is a federal rule or statute on point? So, if its merely a federal judicial practice, that jumps right into an erie analysis?

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stillwater
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Re: Erie Doctrine

Postby stillwater » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:56 pm

phillyboy101 wrote:Just trying to get organized here. Is a Shady Grove analysis proper only when there is a federal rule or statute on point? So, if its merely a federal judicial practice, that jumps right into an erie analysis?


Shady grove is that Hanna prong.

phillyboy101
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Re: Erie Doctrine

Postby phillyboy101 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:15 pm

I guess what im essentially wondering is if you're dealing with a non-codified federal practice in a question (like forum non conveniens) would you even make a mention of shady grove in any manner.

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stillwater
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Re: Erie Doctrine

Postby stillwater » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:20 pm

phillyboy101 wrote:I guess what im essentially wondering is if you're dealing with a non-codified federal practice in a question (like forum non conveniens) would you even make a mention of shady grove in any manner.


I dunno how a common law doctrine like forum non conveniens would fit in because FNC is a disposition based upon the fact they can't get the case into a better venue, in other words there's no transfer or removal that can get the case in the better venue (see Piper Aircraft, can't transfer outside the federal system to Scotland).

phillyboy101
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Re: Erie Doctrine

Postby phillyboy101 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:30 pm

Couldn't there be a situation in a diversity case where the state in which the federal court sits has a state statute that a case will not be dismissed for non conveniens?

Sorry if I'm totally off - maybe a better federal common law example would be something like Carnival recognizing forum waiver by contract. Ultimately I'm just having trouble fitting Shady Grove into my analysis. From what I took out of it, Shady Grove is reserved only for situations in which there is a FRCP or federal statute potentially in conflict with a state rule. And if it's a federal practice, would jump right in to an unguided erie inquiry (no mention of Shady).

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stillwater
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Re: Erie Doctrine

Postby stillwater » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:36 pm

o Shady Grove v. Allstate (2009)
• Question: should NY State law 901(b) or Federal Rule 23 control in diversity suit (state law would bar class action whilst FR would allow certification)
• Holding: Court held that Rule 23 controlled (5-4 with a 4 justice plurality written by Scalia and concurrence by Stevens; Ginsburg dissented)
• Scalia argued that the question of whether Rule 23 was on point was easy and refused to “sneak a peek” at the state law because there was only one way to interpret Rule 23 (in Semtek, Scalia advocated narrow interpretation of FRs in order to avoid different outcomes in State and Fed crt)
• Scalia and Stevens diverged on how to determine whether a FR is valid
• Dissent concluded Rule 23 did not apply and evaluated case under the Erie prong, concluding state law controlled
• Dissenters did not just sneak a peek at state law, they essentially allowed state law to trump a FR
• “simply b/c a FR should be read in light of federalism concerns, it does not follow that crts may rewrite the rule” – Stevens criticism of dissent
• ***Narrow interpretation has generally been encouraged because it avoids unnecessary friction with state law
• but this is only possible if the rule has 2 possible readings, which in this case Scalia doesn’t think is possible
• Validity Test: Scalia
• Plurality relied entirely on the Sibbach/Hanna test:
o Does the Federal Rule really regulate procedure?
o Yes, thus valid
o Scalia recognized the tension between Sibbach and 2072(b) of REA
• “it is hard to understand how it can be determined whether a Federal Rule ‘abridges’ or ‘modifies’ substantive rights without knowing what state-created rights would obtain if the Federal Rule did not exist”
• but Sibbach test forbids assessment of the state law, its focus is purely on the federal provision
o If FR “really regulates procedure” it displaces state law, not matter how substantive the state may consider the law
o Applying the Sibbach test ensured that procedure would be uniform in every federal district b/c if REA required fed crts to refuse to follow FR everytime it conflicted with a law that the state considered substantive, FR would be inconsistently applied across districts
• In Shady Grove, this means if NY considered their law to be substantive, 23 wouldn’t apply in NY but would in other district thus giving rise to disuniformity
o Plurality argued Congress intended uniform application of FR
• Validity Test: Stevens
o Criticized plurality’s singular reliance on Sibbach
o Said test gave credence to 2072(a) but ignored 2072(b)
o “ignores the balance Congress struck between uniform rules of FR and respect for a state’s construction of its own rights and remedies”
o Stevens’ approach requires assessing the state law itself (Scalia criticizes this because it would be too burdensome to the bench) → determine whether NY statute prohibiting class assertion of claims was integrally related (“bound up”) with the definition of the claim itself
o Stevens test here yielded same result as Scalia, he didn’t believe that 901(b) implicated state substantive interests
o B/c of federal preference by providing FR, burden was on party opposing application of FR and that burden is high
• After Shady Grove, Uncertainty
o Sole reliance on Sibbach garnered the support of only four justices, though for now it still survives

phillyboy101
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Re: Erie Doctrine

Postby phillyboy101 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:42 pm

Sounds limited to a situation dealing with a FRCP then. Thanks for helping me out there.

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bk1
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Re: Erie Doctrine

Postby bk1 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:51 pm

At least for my Civ Pro class, the point of Shady Grove (and conversely Gasperini) was that a rule can either be read broadly or narrowly. So if you have a hypo where you have a state rule and a fed statute/constitution (including FRCP/FRAP/FRE) you argue both sides. On one hand you argue that the fed rule should be read broadly (i.e. Shady Grove) and thus conflict with the state rule and thus the fed rule controls. Then you argue that the fed rule should be read narrowly (i.e. Gasperini) and thus there is no conflict and thus the state rule still applies.

phillyboy101
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Re: Erie Doctrine

Postby phillyboy101 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:56 pm

Thank you that makes perfect sense. One last thing if thats okay - Do you know how a situation regarding Twombly would work? On one hand its a federal common law, but on the other hand it is an interpretation of Rule 8(a)(2).

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bk1
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Re: Erie Doctrine

Postby bk1 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:39 am

phillyboy101 wrote:Thank you that makes perfect sense. One last thing if thats okay - Do you know how a situation regarding Twombly would work? On one hand its a federal common law, but on the other hand it is an interpretation of Rule 8(a)(2).

I think technically Twombly/Iqbal merely purport to define Rule 8 and thus under an Erie analysis it would be treated just as any other FRCP. That said, your prof may want to see you argue both sides on the test and say that it might be presumptively valid if it's merely Rule 8 but that it's not presumptively valid if it's fed common law.




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