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Unformatted text preview: Civil Procedure 11/4/08 The Erie Problem Erie Railroad v. Tompkins, U.S., 1938 Facts : Tompkins was walking alongside the Erie Railroad. A train passed and an open door on one of the cars struck him. He fell underneath the train and his arm was severed. He sued in federal district court for the Southern District of New York. Under PA law, Tompkins was a trespasser and the railroad was liable only for wanton negligence. Procedure : the trial court judge relied on Swift v. Tyson and instructed the jury according to the general law that the railroad was liable even if it was guilty of only ordinary negligence. The jury returned a verdict for $30,000. The 2 nd Circuit affirmed the decision. Issue : whether to overturn Swift . Supreme Court : (1) the purpose of the section was merely to make certain that, in all matters except those in which some federal law is controlling, the federal courts exercising jurisdiction in diversity cases would apply as their rules of decision the law of...
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- Fall '08