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Ragan v. Merchants Transfer & Warehouse Co.

United States Supreme Court
337 U.S. 530 (1949)

Ragan v. Merchants Transfer & Warehouse Co.


Ragan (plaintiff) was involved in a highway accident on October 1, 1943. On September 4, 1945, Ragan brought a tort law claim arising from the accident against Merchants Transfer & Warehouse Co. (Merchants Transfer) (defendant) in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. The district court’s subject-matter jurisdiction was based on diversity. Ragan served the summons on Merchants Transfer on December 28, 1945. Kansas had a two-year statute of limitations for tort law claims. Under federal law, the statute of limitations was tolled as of the date of filing. Under Kansas law, however, the statute of limitations was not tolled until the summons was served. Merchants Transfer moved for summary judgment, arguing that under Kansas law, the statute of limitations barred Ragan’s claim. The district court denied Merchants Transfer’s motion. After trial, a verdict was entered in favor of Ragan. The court of appeals reversed. Ragan petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari, which was granted.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Douglas, J.)

Dissent (Rutledge, J.)

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