Monday, February 11, 2013

Mitchell v. W.T. Grant Company case brief

Mitchell v. W.T. Grant Company case brief summary
416 U.S. 600

SYNOPSIS: The Supreme Court of Louisiana upheld an order under La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 3571 that sequestered goods that petitioner buyer had purchased from respondent seller in an installment sale. The buyer was granted a writ of certiorari.

-A state trial judge ordered the sequestration of personal property on the application of the seller, who had made an installment sale of the goods to the buyer.
-According to the seller's affidavit, the buyer's payments were delinquent.
-The court below upheld the sequestration under La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 3571.
-The buyer claimed that the ex parte sequestration order violated the Due Process Clause of U.S. Const. amend. XIV because it had been entered without prior notice or opportunity for a hearing.

In affirming the decision below, the court noted that resolution of the due process question had to take into account not only the interests of the buyer, but those of the seller as well.

-According to the court, the statute authorizing sequestration in this case sought to minimize the risk of error of a wrongful interim possession by the seller.
-The system, which was always under judicial control, protected the buyer's interest in every conceivable way, except allowing him to have the property to start with.
-Accordingly, the court held that the sequestration did not violate the buyer's constitutional rights.

OUTCOME: The decision below was affirmed based on the court's holding that the statute authorizing sequestration of the buyer's property sufficiently protected the buyer's interests.

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