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The Erie Doctrine and the Enigmatic Mr. Tomato

This Prezi addresses one of the most perplexing legal issues of our time: Who should decide the true nature of tomatoes? If you like this Prezi, please leave a comment, question, or recipie below.
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Brigham Fordham

on 24 February 2016

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Transcript of The Erie Doctrine and the Enigmatic Mr. Tomato

THE ERIE DOCTRINE AND THE ENIGMATIC MR. TOMATO
the big decision
Look at the nature of the FEDERAL rule involved in the conflict:
Assume that there is a case in FEDERAL court that is deciding a STATE law claim.
At some point in the litigation, the court must decide whether to treat Mr. Tomato as a FRUIT or a VEGETABLE.
Erie/ York/ Byrd Approach
1. Is the conflicting state law substantive or procedural?
NOTE:
Erie doctrine only comes up in cases that are in FEDERAL court based on diversity jurisdiction or supplemental jurisdiction.
Federal law says tomatoes are ALWAYS treated as fruits.
State law (in the jurisdiction) says tomatoes are ALWAYS treated as vegetables.
SHOULD THE COURT FOLLOW STATE LAW SINCE THE CLAIM IS A STATE LAW CLAIM?
OR SHOULD THE COURT FOLLOW FEDERAL LAW SINCE THIS IS FEDERAL COURT?
Federal law says tomatoes are ALWAYS treated as fruits.
FRCP 132(b) states:
Tomatoes shall be treated as fruits.
Hanna Approach
Is this rule codified?
(Is it part of a statute or FRCP?)
If it is one of the FRCP, determine whether it is valid and constitutional.
Does it “really regulate procedure”—that is, does it have a legitimate procedural purpose?
If it is a federal statute, determine whether it was intended to be applied in this situation and is constitutional.
What is the state law that the federal statute would displace?
A court may determine that there is no REAL conflict because federal law was not INTENDED to displace this state law.
For the good of the nation, federal courts have traditionally treated tomatoes as fruits.
If the state law is clearly SUBSTANTIVE, apply state law. It's a veggie!

If it is unclear, analyze the TWIN AIMS OF ERIE and THE BYRD BALANCING TEST. (Go on to Step 2.)
2. Analyze the twins! Is the choice between using the state or federal law OUTCOME DETERMINATIVE?
State law (in the jurisdiction) says tomatoes are ALWAYS treated as vegetables.
Are litigants likely to forum shop because their case depends on whether Mr. Tomato is a fruit or a vegetable?
If the conflict is likely to cause forum shopping or cause inequity, this weighs in favor of using STATE law. He's looking like a veggie! Go on to Step 3.
3. Balance the policy underlying the federal law against the policy underlying the state law.

No court (yet) has found a codified federal rule that fails this test.
Yes. The federal law is codified!
No! The federal law is not codified!
THE CONFLICT
SUBSTANTIVE: It is a rule that would "substantially affect those primary decisions respecting human conduct."
That is, it affects how people decide to act in real life.
SUBSTANTIVE: It is a rule that would "substantially affect those primary decisions respecting human conduct."
That is, it affects how people decide to act in real life.
PROCEDURAL: It is designed to affect the way the litigation proceeds through the court system.

That is, it serves to make things more just, speedy and efficient

So, like, why do the feds say he's not a veggie? Is the state's policy more important?
If Mr. Tomato is deemed a fruit (fed law), will this lead to INEQUITABLE administration of law?
28 U.S.C. 900(b) states:
Tomatoes shall be treated as fruits.
No more tomatoes in salads! They belong in JUICE!
NO
YES
If the choice is outcome determinative and the policies demand vegetarianism, then the state law is SUBSTANTIVE. It's SALAD time!!
Full transcript