Few cases in debtor-creditor relations have been discussed as much as Sniadach v. Family Finance Corp., Fuentes v. Shevin, Mitchell v. W. T. Grant Co., and North Georgia Finishing, Inc. v. Di-Chem, Inc. Despite the volume already written, however, the commentary appears destined to continue for some time to come. Thanks largely to this outpouring of attention, most lawyers and students are acutely aware of the fundamental issue involved in that line of cases, namely: is it constitutional to seize a debtor's property without notice and a hearing? Before Sniadach the answer of most lawyers and students even remotely conversant with this aspect of debtor-creditor relations would have been a simple "yes." Sniadach, however, overturned Wisconsin's provisional remedy statutes, the kind of statutes that were commonplace in most states but, as it turned out, unconstitutional. Since most lawyers and students would have routinely answered "yes" to the issue posed above, the surprise following the Sniadach decision can be easily imagined. For example, some four years after Sniadach, Professor William D. Hawkland wrote that not only were many surprised at the way the court had decided the case but were surprised that "the action was brought in the first place."
B. J. Brabham,
Sniadach Through Di-Chem and Backwards: An Analysis of Virginia's Attachment and Detinue Statute,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol12/iss1/6