The Constitution and the "Transitory" Cause of Action

Brainerd Currie
1959 Harvard Law Review  
The author, using as his starting point two statements of the Supreme Court in a recent conflict-of-laws case, develops a theory which may be the unexpressed basis of decisions purportedly grounded on the full-faith-and-credit clause. He searches for a consistent rationale which will clarify a state's obligation to provide a forum for causes of action of foreign origin and will also define the limits within which the state may refuse to entertain the action because of local court-administration
more » ... ourt-administration policy. I. STATEMENT IN Hughes v. Fetter 1 the Supreme Court confronted the legal profession with a seeming paradox. Reversing the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, 2 the Court held that a state may not, consistently with the full-faith-and-credit clause,' refuse to entertain an action for wrongful death predicated upon the laws of a sister state wherein the injury and death occurred. At the same time, in a rather cryptic footnote, the Court reserved the possibility that a state in the position of Wisconsin, having entertained the action for wrongful death, might constitutionally apply its own law rather than that of the state of injury "to measure the substantive rights involved." 4 To say the least, this decision seems to require only limited and partial, rather than full, faith and credit. Wisconsin must entertain the action because the Constitution requires recognition of the public acts of the state of injury-specifically, the wrongful-death statute of Illinoisby which the right of action is created. But the obligation t This is the first installment of a two-part article.
doi:10.2307/1337946 fatcat:se2hzoyhnrc5td7kkj7zkqkuxe