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Fuentes v. Shevin - Debtors' Rights And Contractual Agreements, Impact, Writ Of Replevin

court law merchandise creditors

Appellant

Margarita Fuentes

Appellee

Robert L. Shevin

Appellant's Claim

Denying debtors a hearing before merchandise is reposed by private creditors violates the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee that no state shall deprive any person of property without due process of law.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Michael Abbott

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Herbert T. Schwartz

Justices for the Court

William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Potter Stewart (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Byron R. White (Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and William H. Rehnquist did not participate)

Place

Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

12 June 1972

Decision

The Court set aside two three-judge federal district court decisions that upheld the constitutionality of laws in Florida and Pennsylvania, which allowed private creditors to repossess merchandise under a writ of replevin, without proper notice or a hearing. Derived from common law, replevin allows for the return of specific merchandise that was taken improperly or wrongfully.

Significance

Fuentes v. Shevin established that even if debtors failed to make payments and had signed a contract agreeing to do so, they were, nonetheless, entitled to proper notice and a hearing before private creditors could repossess merchandise or chattel.

Related Cases

  • Snaidach v. Family Finance Corp, 395 U.S. 337 (1969).
  • Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254 (1970).
  • Bell v. Burson, 402 U.S. 535 (1971).
  • Arnett v. Kennedy, 416 U.S. 134 (1974).
  • Cleveland Board of Education v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532 (1985).

Sources

Black, Henry Campbell. Black's Law Dictionary. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co, 1990.

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt. Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1997
  • Gunther, Gerald, and Kathleen Sullivan. Constitutional Law, 13th ed. New York: The Foundation Press Inc., 1997.
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Furman v. Georgia - Significance, Furman Sentenced To Death, Court Severely Restricts Death Penalty, Jackson And Branch, Related Cases [next] [back] Freedman v. Maryland - Significance, Further Readings

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over 8 years ago

Thank you, this was a very thorough analysis.