Logourl black
From our private database of 14,200+ case briefs...

Hanna v. Plumer

United States Supreme Court
380 U.S. 460 (1965)

Hanna v. Plumer

Facts

Two drivers crashed cars. Hanna (plaintiff) survived, but the negligent driver died. Hanna filed a lawsuit in federal court, based on diversity jurisdiction, against the other driver’s estate. As required under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Hanna served a summons and complaint on the executor of the estate, Plumer (defendant). But Plumer was away from home, so the process-server handed the paperwork to Plumer’s wife. That approach was perfectly fine under the federal rules. But Hanna did not know that a substantive statute under Massachusetts estate laws provided that executors could not be liable unless they were served with court papers personally. Plumer moved for summary judgment. He admitted that the service satisfied the federal rules but raised the affirmative defense created by the Massachusetts statute, noting that he had not been served personally. Thus, Hanna’s service of process satisfied the federal procedural rules, but prevented the estate from being liable under Massachusetts’s substantive law. The district court judge dismissed the case. The First Circuit affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Warren, J.)

Concurrence (Harlan, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 237,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.