Mitchell v. W.T. Grant Co.

416 U.S. 600 (1974)


P filed suit against D. P alleged the sale to D of a refrigerator, range, stereo, and washing machine, and an overdue and unpaid balance of the purchase price for said items in the amount of $574.17. P alleged a vendor's lien on the goods and requested that a writ of sequestration should issue to sequester the merchandise pending the outcome of the suit. P's credit manager swore to the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint. The complaint asserted that P had reason to believe D would 'encumber, alienate or otherwise dispose of the merchandise described in the foregoing petition during the pendency of these proceedings and that a writ of sequestration is necessary in the premises.' Without prior notice, the judge issued the writ upon P furnishing bond in the amount of $1,125.' The writ was issued, and D was cited to make an appearance within 5 days. D filed a motion to dissolve the writ of sequestration. D claimed the goods were exempt from seizure and that the seizure violated Due Process in that it had occurred without prior notice and opportunity to defend D's right to possession of the property. The trial judge disagreed and held that P insured D's right to due process by proceeding in accordance with Louisiana Law as opposed to any type of self-help seizure which would have denied D possession of his property without due process.' The appellate courts of Louisiana affirmed and the Supreme Court of Louisiana expressly rejecting petitioner's due process claims pressed under the Federal Constitution. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.