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Erie #1-12



1)  A conflict existed as to whether the federal court could disregard the 
common law of a state and substitute "general" law.

2)  Pennsylvania's common law and "general" federal law were the choices 
available.

3)  Pennsylvania law precluded recovery for a trespasser injured while 
traveling along a railroad right of way while federal "general" law allowed 
for a cause of action in negligence.

4)  The defendant railroad argued that the high court of Pennsylvania did not 
conflict with the general law and provided no cause of action unless the 
injury was the result of willful or wanton conduct. If this is a correct 
statement of Pennsylvania law, then no real conflict existed as likely was the 
case in Swift.

5)  The railroad argued that lex loci delicti should apply.

6)  Lex loci delicti is derived from the common law treatment of torts.

7)  Justice Brandeis notes that the Warren article re-examined the intent of 
the Judiciary Act's drafters and found that they intended merely to clarify 
that federal courts should apply state law, including case law.

8)	Story and Brandeis read the Judicary Act differently for a number of 
reasons. Brandeis had the benefit of witnessing the development of "general" 
national law that often bore little resemblance to the state laws from which 
it supposedly derived. Also, by his time, Congress had successfully asserted a 
fair degree over commercial law via the Commerce Clause. Story lived in a 
young country whose Constitutional Convention began out of talks to lower 
barriers to trade between the colonies. Nevertheless, the federal government 
at that time could not effectively regulate commerce as it could today, given 
the contemporary restrictive readings of the Commerce Clause. By establishing 
a "general" national commercial law, Story made an end-run around the 
shortcomings of federal statutory law, albeit one dangerously distant from the 
laws of the states.

9)  Current Supreme Court jurisprudence allows for near-comprehensive 
regulation of commerce by Congress, since some aspect of  nearly all commerce 
is arguably interstate.

10)  Erie speaks only to substantive law.  Federal courts must apply their own 
procedural law, just as an Illinois court applying Wyoming law will still 
follow Illinois procedural law.

11)	The exclusionary rule relies upon the Fourth amendment to the federal 
constitution. Federal courts are competent to interpret federal law and this 
in no way relies upon the Erie ruling, being derived instead from the courts' 
Article III powers.

12)	Because the appellate court cannot try the case, it must reverse its 
earlier ruling and hold that Pennsylvania law applies. After having done so, 
it must remand the case to the district court or possibly the state courts for 
further proceedings, possibly including a trial.