Connecticut v. Doehr
501 U.S. 1, 111 S. Ct. 2105, 115 L. Ed. 2d 1 (1991)
was suing Doehr.He went to
the Connecticut Court and asked to attach Doehr's house for $75k as part
of the suit.
suit was for an assault and battery charge and had nothing to do
with the property.But based
on Connecticut law you can attach property for torts in anticipation of
cases often have factual questions that must be answered before judgment (he
said she said...)
judge found that there was probable cause that DiGiovanni would win the assault tort, so he ordered the
property attached.Of course, at this time DiGiovanni hadn't bothered to serve Doehr
with notice that he was being sued for anything.The first thing Doehr got was the notice of attachment,
he had yet to receive the notice that he was being sued.
attachment sequestered the
property. Doehr still owned it, but he could not sell it, or borrow on
was no detailed affidavit, no bond, and no court hearing, unlike in the
case of Fuentes v. Shevin (407 U.S. 67 (1972)).
countersued in Federal Court that Connecticut had issued a default
judgment against him without giving him due process, and that the Connecticut law attaching property
was therefore unconstitutional.
Federal Trial Court upheld the attachment.Doehr appealed.
Federal Appellate Court reversed.Connecticut appealed.
US Supreme Court affirmed and found for Doehr.
US Supreme Court found that the prejudgment order "failed to provide a
pre-attachment hearing without at least requiring a showing of some
exigent circumstance, clearly falls short of the demands of due
Court also held that pre-attachment hearings are violative of due
process when there is no notice prior
to the actual filing of the attachment, for the defendant has no remedy
to object to the suspension of his property rights.
Court came up with a three part test to determine if due
process has been satisfied in a prejudgment
private interest that will be affected by the official action,
risk of an erroneous deprivation of such interest through the procedures
used, and the probable value, if any, of addition or substitute
attention to the interest of the party seeking the prejudgment remedy.
test was based on Matthews v. Eldridge (424 U.S. 319 (1976)).
Compare this decision to that in
Sniadach v. Family Finance Corp. (395 U.S. 337 (1969)).
In that case, the Court had attached Sniadach's wages before the case had been
heard.The Appellate Court
held that this was unfair since Sniadach needed wages to live so there
was unfair pressure to settle.