Page 352 U. S. 875
the federal courts. Very often, litigants in the position of the
plaintiff bring a suit involving merely local law in a federal
court because for one reason or another they expect a more
favorable outcome than if the suit were tried in the local courts.
See Lumbermen's Mutual Casualty Co. v. Elbert,
348 U. S. 48
348 U. S. 53
This case was tried before a jury, which found for the
plaintiff. Defendant appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit. While the particular judges who heard the case are not
from Texas, they are, however, constantly charged in such cases as
this with the task of being conversant with, and applying, Texas
law. The Court of Appeals held that, as a matter of Texas law, the
District Court committed error in not directing a verdict for the
defendant. It reversed the judgment of the District Court and
rendered judgment for the defendant. Plaintiff then sought a writ
of certiorari to review the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
This Court cannot determine whether the Court of Appeals was
right or wrong in its judgment without determining whether, on this
record, the case should or should not have been left to the jury.
That can only be decided on the basis of an investigation of Texas
law. This Court is not a court to determine the local law of the
forty-eight States. Error on the part of a Court of Appeals in
applying the local law of any one of the forty-eight States
involves injustice to a particular litigant, whether it is a
personal injury case or any other case. If the claim of injustice
in a particular case arising solely out of diversity jurisdiction
justifies review by this Court, it justifies it in every case in
which on a surface view of the record this Court feels a Court of
Appeals may have been wrong in its ascertainment of local law.
In taking one of these cases, encouragement doubtless is given
to seek this Court's review in other like cases.
Page 352 U. S. 876
But Congress sought to relieve this Court of the burden of such
cases when it established the Courts of Appeals in 1891. This Court
has respected the purpose of that enactment by stating again and
again that it does not sit to correct errors, even a plain error,
in a particular case, especially one involving a local controversy
of this sort. The Supreme Court of the United States is designed
for important questions of general significance in the construction
of federal law and in the adjustment of the serious controversies
that arise inevitably and in increasing measure in a federal system
like ours. These questions are more than sufficient in volume and
difficulty to engage all the energy and thought possessed by the
Court; it should not be diverted by the correction of errors in
local controversies turning on particular circumstances.
The Court's consideration of a case like this and the
encouragement given for similar demands upon the Court are, in my
deep conviction, so inimical to the effective discharge of the true
functions of this Court that I cannot abstain from expressing my
dissent from the Court's entertainment of the petition for
MR. JUSTICE REED and MR. JUSTICE BURTON would deny
|352 U.S. ast|
". . . a federal court adjudicating a state-created right solely
because of the diversity of citizenship of the parties is for that
purpose, in effect, only another court of the State. . . ."
Guaranty Trust Co. v. York, 326 U. S.
, 326 U. S.