Eerie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins

304 U.S. 64 (1938)


  • Tompkins is injured by a door protruding from the side of a railroad car while he was walking along a railroad right of way at night.

Contentions of parties:

Eerie: PA law should be applied, Tompkins is a trespasser, and Eerie owed no duty to him.

Tompkins: General common law should be applied, and railroad has a duty to him.


Whether Swift v. Tyson should be overruled and federal courts should apply state laws.


When federal courts are applying state law, they must apply the law of the state as it is at that moment, either statutory or common law.