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Erie Railroad v thompkins


BTO429
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Every one needs to read this case, it is the case the case that setup the duality of citizenship.

The law of the land before Erie Railroad was McCulloch v Maryland an 1819 case which dealt with a single citizenship of the people.

Erie holds, among other findings that in actions in diversity, except in matters governed by the Constitution or acts of Congress, federal courts must apply state common law in addition to statutory law.

"A federal court exercising jurisdiction over such a case on the ground of diversity of citizenship, is not free to treat this question as one of so-called "general law," but must apply the state law as declared by the highest state court."

"There is no federal general common law. Congress has no power to declare substantive rules of common law applicable in a State whether they be local in their nature or "general," whether they be commercial law or a part of the law of torts. And no clause in the Constitution purports to confer such a power upon the federal courts. Except in matters governed by the Federal Constitution or by Acts of Congress, the law to be applied in any case is the law of the State. And whether the law of the State shall be declared by its legislature in a statute or by its highest court in a decision is not a matter of federal concern."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not sure what point you are raising here.  In cases that we would see on this board, there is rarely jurisdiction in Federal Court based upon diversity of citizenship because the amount in controversy must be $75,000.  In cases filed by debtors, the FDCPA or FCRA would apply in Federal Court and be interpreted under federal law, because they are acts of congress.

 

Of course, if a debt collector properly brought suit to collect a debt of $75,000 or more in Federal Court, state law would likely apply as would a  cross complaint under state statute such as the Rosenthal Act.  However, Judges and lawyers are well aware of this rule and I have never seen any argument to the contrary.

 

Finally, Erie did not set up diversity jurisdiction.  It is contained in Article III of the Constitution which spells out what cases can be heard in Federal Court as opposed to state court.  Erie simply decided what law would apply when a federal court exercises jurisdiction under diversity of citizenship. 

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