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Swift v. Tyson

Significance, The Need For A Uniform System Of Commerce, Impact


John Swift


George W. Tyson

Petitioner's Claim

In a federal case based on diversity jurisdiction, the common law of the locus state should govern the tender of a negotiable instrument, not common law developed by a federal court.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner


Chief Lawyer for Respondent


Justices for the Court

Henry Baldwin, John Catron, Peter Vivian Daniel, John McKinley, John McLean, Joseph Story (writing for the Court), Roger Brooke Taney, Smith Thompson, James Moore Wayne

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

January 1842


In a federal case based on diversity jurisdiction, a federal court has the power to make its own decisions, in the absence of a controlling state statute.

Related Cases

  • Black & White Taxicab & Transfer Co. v. Brown & Yellow Taxicab & Transfer Co., 276 U.S. 518 (1928).
  • Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64 (1938).

Further Readings

  • Johnson, John W., ed. Historic U.S. Court Cases, 1690-1990: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland Publishing, 1992.
  • Rehnquist, William H.,The Supreme Court: How It Was, How It Is. New York: Morrow, 1987.
  • West's Encyclopedia of American Law. St. Paul, MN: West Group, 1998.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1833 to 1882