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63 Notre Dame L. Rev. 720 (1988).


Let me identify the two basic theses of this paper. First, I believe that in the recent Schiavone v. Fortune case, the Supreme Court gave the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure under consideration there, Rule 15(c), an unduly restrictive reading. In this, the fiftieth year of the effective date of the Rules, it is particularly unfortunate to see any of the Rules given an unnecessarily grudging interpretation. My second assertion is that as a general matter, in interpreting the Federal Rules, courts should recognize that their role is different from the one they play in interpreting statutes or in applying substantive common law doctrines, regardless of whether they are of a federal or state nature. In construing the Federal Rules, the courts are interpreting standards which the Supreme Court itself has promulgated. Therefore, some of the problems which occur during statutory interpretation, such as ferreting out legislative intent, deferring to another branch of the government, or avoiding violations of principles of federalism by deferring to state interests, are in large measure eliminated. As a result, the federal courts are fully justified in taking an expansive view of the Federal Rule under scrutiny, giving it a liberal reading if that is required to fulfill the purposes of the Rule or to do justice between the parties before the court.


Reprinted with permission of the Notre Dame Law Review.



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