Lugar owned a gas station in
Virginia, but owed Edmondson money.
Edmondson sued to collect the
Edmonson also got a prejudgement
attachment against Lugar's property
so Lugar couldn't sell or destroy it while the case was pending.
Lugar did not appear in
court and did not have the ability to argue against the attachment.
Lugar sued, claiming that he
had been deprived or property without due process.
Virginia argued that they weren't depriving anybody of anything.
Virginia didn't want Lugar's gas station, they were only acting on
Basically, they argued that
this was a private action, and therefore not constitutionally protected
by the State Action Doctrine,
which says that only governmental actions are bound by the Constitution.
Lugar argued that Virginia
was a participant in the taking, and therefore he should be protected by
The US Supreme Court found for
The US Supreme Court found
that when a State creates a system whereby State officials will attach
property on the ex parte
application of one party in a private dispute (aka a prejudgement
attachment), the State has become
'entangled' in the dispute, and therefore constitutional guarantees
That's the Entanglement
Exception to the State
There are two questions to ask
in deciding whether the Entanglement Exception applies:
Does the claimed
constitutional deprivation result from the exercise of a right or
privilege having its source in State authority?
Can the private party
charged with the deprivation be described in all fairness as a State