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Public Law & Legal Theory


Given the considerable prominence of forum-shopping concerns in the jurisprudence and academic literature on the so-called Erie Doctrine, courts and commentators may benefit from data on whether, and to what extent, forum shopping in fact responds to choice-of-law decisions under the Erie Doctrine. Prior to this paper, however, no empirical study quantified the changes in forum shopping behavior caused by a court decision applying the Erie Doctrine. I study changes in filing patterns of cases likely to be affected by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Shady Grove v. Allstate and find evidence of large shifts in the patterns of original filings and removals in federal courts in New York that are consistent with the predicted forum shopping response to Shady Grove. In addition to providing the first empirical evidence of vertical forum shopping induced by a decision applying the Erie doctrine, this paper seeks to serve as a proof of concept for empirical research in this area. While there are significant obstacles to empirical research on the effects of Erie and its progeny, this paper out-lines a methodology that may be feasible for future projects in this area.



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