Burlington Northern Railroad Co. v. Woods

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Burlington Northern Railroad Co. v. Woods
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued November 4, 1986
Decided February 24, 1987
Full case name Burlington Northern Railroad Co. v. Woods, et al.
Citations 480 U.S. 1 (more)
107 S. Ct. 967; 94 L. Ed. 2d 1; 55 U.S.L.W. 4173; 6 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 1035
The Alabama mandatory affirmance penalty statute has no application to judgments entered by federal courts sitting in diversity.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Marshall, joined by unanimous
Laws applied
Rule 38 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, 28 U.S.C. § 1912

Burlington Northern Railroad Co. v. Woods, 480 U.S. 1 (1987), was a United States Supreme Court case that applied the precedent of Hanna v. Plumer to a conflict between state and federal procedural rules for a federal court sitting in diversity.[1]

Opinion of the Court[edit]

The defendant in the original case stayed a damage judgment and went on to lose on appeal. According to an Alabama statute, the defendant would be required to pay a ten percent penalty. Under Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure Rule 38, the penalty was discretionary. Holding the federal rule to be on point and constitutional, the court applied federal rule and gave no penalty.[2]


  1. ^ Yeazell, S.C. Civil Procedure, Seventh Edition. Aspen Publishers, New York, NY: 2008, p. 247
  2. ^ Yeazell, p. 247

External links[edit]