The Repressible Myth of Shady Grove

51 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2010 Last revised: 9 Feb 2011

Date Written: August 20, 2010


This Article untangles the effects of the Supreme Court’s latest word on the Erie doctrine. First, Shady Grove lightly confirms the limited role of constitutional constraints. Second, it sheds only a little light on judicial choice-of-law methodology. Third, by contrast, it does considerably clarify the conflict between Federal Rules and state law: if a Rule regulates procedure, then it is valid and applicable without exception in all federal cases, to the extent of its coverage; in determining the Rule’s coverage, federal courts should read it, when alternative readings are defensible, to minimize its intrusion on substantive rights (that is, they should construe a Rule in a fashion that includes considering the impact on the generalized congressional and state interests in regulating substance, but they should not adopt a narrowed construction to avoid conflict with the state’s interests peculiarly in play in the particular situation presented by the case at bar). In the end, Shady Grove has not fundamentally altered Erie, but it mercifully makes it more comprehensible.

Keywords: Erie, choice of law, Shady Grove

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Clermont, Kevin M., The Repressible Myth of Shady Grove (August 20, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Kevin M. Clermont (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-5189 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

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