Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fuentes v. Shevin case brief summary

Fuentes v. Shevin 407 U.S. 67 (1972)
Cause of Action: Does a statute which authorizes the summary seizure of goods in a person’s possession, by allowing the issuance of writs ordering state agents to seize property upon the ex parte application of any other person who posts a security bond, violate the 14th Amendment guarantee that no State shall deprive any person of property without due process of law?
Facts: 1. Margarita Fuentes, resident of FL, purchased a gas stove, stereo, and service policy from Firestone Tire and Rubber Co., under a conditional sales contract calling for monthly payments over a period of time. Contract totaled about $600.
2. Ms. Fuentes made the installment payments for over a year, but with only $200 left, a dispute over the servicing of the stove ensued and Firestone, in accordance with state law, filled out the blanks in the appropriate court documents and had the clerk sign them and issue a writ of replevin ordering a sheriff to seize the disputed goods at once.
Holding: Yes.
Rationale: 1. There is no opportunity for a hearing, nor any prior notice, as mandated by due process, before the possessor is deprived of their possessions, solely on the word of another. See p. 322 for exceptions to this general rule.

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