A recent personal injury case, Erie Railroad v. Tompkins, arose in the federal district court, based upon diversity of citizenship, in which the defendant urged that state judicial decisions of Pennsylvania, the locus delicti, imposed no liability on it for negligence to trespassers. The plaintiff denied that such was the Pennsylvania law and alternatively replied that the issue of law was one to be determined by the federal court without regard to the law of Pennsylvania. On April 25, 1938, a verdict for the plaintiff was unanimously set aside by the Supreme Court. Two members, Justices Butler and McReynolds, based their decision upon the law of Pennsylvania. The other six, however, denied any merit in the plaintiff's alternative reply, and held the federal courts bound by the law of Pennsylvania, thereby disapproving the rule of Swift v. Tyson.
Frank B. Stone,
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - FEDERAL COURTS - LAW TO BE APPLIED IN CASES OF DIVERSITY OF CITIZENSHIP - SWIFT v. TYSON OVERRULE,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol36/iss8/4