Hanna v. Plumer
380 U.S. 460 (1965)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Hanna v. Plumer, 380 U.S. 460 (1965)

Hanna v. Plumer

No. 171

Argued January 21, 1965

Decided April 26, 1965

380 U.S. 460

Syllabus

In a civil action in a federal court where jurisdiction is based upon diversity of citizenship, service of process shall be made in the manner set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(d)(1), rather than in the manner prescribed by state law.

(a) Rule 4(d)(1) is authorized by the Rules Enabling Act. Pp. 380 U. S. 464-465.

(b) Even if there were no Federal Rule of Civil Procedure making it clear that in-hand service is not required in diversity actions, it is doubtful that Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins,304 U. S. 64, and the line of cases following it would have obligated the District Court to follow the Massachusetts in-hand service procedure. The "outcome determination" test of Guaranty Trust Co. v. York,326 U. S. 99, was never intended to be a talisman, but must be read in light of the policies underlying the Erie rule -- discouragement of forum shopping and avoidance of inequitable administration of the laws. Pp. 380 U. S. 466-469.

(c) In any event, the rule of Erie and its progeny does not constitute the appropriate test of the validity, and therefore the applicability, of a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. Pp. 380 U. S. 469-474.

(d) Rule 4(d)(1) does not exceed the constitutional bounds to which the Erie opinion alluded. The constitutional provision for a federal court system carries with it congressional power to make rules governing the practice and pleading in federal courts. Pp. 380 U. S. 471-472.

331 F.2d 157 reversed.

Page 380 U. S. 461

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