Can someone please explain erie/hanna/byrd to mee....I'm freakin lost and my
wounderful Civ Pro teacher confused me even more today.
Any help would be appreciated
Also, does anyone have an exams with answers. I just want to see a really good answer
putll all together. I suck at analysis
Thanks in advance
Sigh... Civ Pro test in TWO days, ugh!
So, Erie: overturned a 100-yr rule, established in Swift v. Tyson, that allowed federal common law to govern in fed cts. Erie held that fed cts must use the state law of the state in which they sit (absent a fed statute or Constitutional provision). The "twin aims" of Erie, as stated in Hanna, were to discourage forum shopping (notorious under Swift; see Black and White Cab Co) and to prevent the "inequitable administration of the laws" (what this means is kinda unclear, but basically: is there a good reason for using state v. fed law?). Erie ALSO questions whether using fed common law in state cts is Constitutional under the 10th A (all laws not in the Constitution are left to the states) and grabs power for the courts not granted by Article III. Most later cases ignore the Constitutional question.
Byrd introduces a balancing test, which it uses to balance the federal policy of applying state law in fed cts when the choice of law is "outcome-determinative" (as introduced in Guaranty Trust) against the 7th Amendment right to a jury trial. So basically, balance choice-of-law rules against "other countervailing considerations." This is rarely cited today, and may only come into play in 7th A. cases... further, if the 7th A. had truly applied here, it would obviously trump all: the ct said it only sorta applies.... So Byrd has issues. My prof. loathes it.
On the other hand, he looooves Hanna. In Hanna, a FRCP conflicted with a Mass. law regarding service requirements. To evaluate the legitimacy of a FR, Hanna asks: (1) is it valid under the REA? (2) Is it Consitutional? If so, then it's valid--an expansive reading of the FRCP that basically mean they'll almost never be invalidated (indeed, no rule ever has).
However, Hanna is best known for its dictum, which later became the law in Walker. The court addresses the question of what to do when federal common law and state law conflict, as was the case in Erie. This section of the decision uses a modified outcome-determinative test, analyzing whether the result will change based on the law used, but also considering the "twin aims" of Erie (as stated above).
Of the "equitable admin. of the laws prong," Walker provided some clarity: basically, the ct has to have a good reason to use the fed law instead of the state law. Some of Byrd's balancing test may also come into play in this prong.
Does this help?