Friday, November 1, 2013

Marshall v. Barlow’s, Inc. case brief

Marshall v. Barlow’s, Inc. case brief summary
436 U.S. 307 (1978)

Appellant Secretary of Labor challenged a judgment from the United States District Court for the District of Idaho, which held that the Secretary was required to obtain a search warrant prior to inspecting a plumbing business belonging to appellee business owner.

The business owner refused to allow an inspector hired under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) to inspect his business without a search warrant. Three months later, the Secretary petitioned the district court to issue an order compelling the owner to admit the inspector. The requested order was issued, and the owner again refused admission. The owner then sought his own injunctive relief against the warrantless search.

  • A panel of the district court found in the owner's favor. 
  • The Secretary contended that warrantless inspections were reasonable within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. 
  • He alleged that 29 U.S.C.S. § 657(a) authorized inspection of business premises without a search warrant. 
  • The Court held that the requirement of obtaining a search warrant was not overly burdensome on the inspection system or the courts and that it would provide assurances that the inspections were reasonable under the Constitution.


The Court affirmed the judgment of the district court.

Recommended Supplements for Administrative Law Examples & Explanations: Administrative Law, Fourth Edition
Administrative Law and Process: In a Nutshell (Nutshell Series)

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