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Fuentes v. Shevin

Debtors' Rights And Contractual Agreements, Impact, Writ Of Replevin


Margarita Fuentes


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)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

12 June 1972


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.


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).


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.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972