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Hughes v. Fetter

United States Supreme Court
341 U.S. 609 (1951)


Harold Hughes, a Wisconsin resident, was fatally injured in a car accident in Illinois, allegedly caused by the negligence of Fetter (defendant), another Wisconsin resident. The administrator of Hughes’s estate (plaintiff) filed an action in Wisconsin, based upon Illinois’s wrongful death statute, against Fetter and a Wisconsin insurance company (defendant). The court granted summary judgment to defendants on the merits, holding that Wisconsin public policy prohibited its courts from hearing wrongful death actions brought under the laws of other states. The court derived Wisconsin’s public policy from the state’s own wrongful death statute, which limited its application to deaths caused in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed. Hughes’s administrator filed a petition for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court, arguing that the state court decision violated the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

Dissent (Frankfurter, J.)

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