Sniadach v. Family Finance Corp. of Bay View

PETITIONER: Sniadach
RESPONDENT: Family Finance Corp. of Bay View
LOCATION: Washington Monument Grounds

DOCKET NO.: 130
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1969)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 395 US 337 (1969)
ARGUED: Apr 21, 1969
DECIDED: Jun 09, 1969

Facts of the case

Family Finance began an adornment process against Sniadach, as petitioner, and Miller Harris Instrument Company, her employer (garnishee). The allegation was evaluated in 420$ on a promissory note. The garnishee argued that plaintiff`s salary was of 63.18$ and one-half would be paid to plaintiff as a disbursement.

A state legislation ordered the allowance to Family Finance to hear the summons in ten days and to file a claim on the corporation after the garnishee was exercised. Following the adornment, judge Miller Harris confirmed employer`s wages, establishing that the one half should be paid to Sniadach and the other half should be subjected to the trial ruling.

The plaintiff brought suit before the Supreme Court alleging that wages was freeze before the start of proceeding and it contradicted with the due process proven by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.

The court concluded that whether the issue regarding person`s property is indisputable, absent notice and prejudice garnishment actions infringed the basic rights of the fair process. The case study explains that in Sniadach v. Family Finance Corp. the appellant was deprived of her possibility to defend her position in the trial before the freezing of the responder`s funds, that after could be unfrozen only if the appellant would win the suit in litigation.

The case brief reflects court`s point that in fact under the in Sniadach v Family Finance Corp. the employee was dispossessed of his right to obtain wages and then the possibility to represent her position at the hearing.

Question

Media for Sniadach v. Family Finance Corp. of Bay View

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 21, 1969 in Sniadach v. Family Finance Corp. of Bay View

Earl Warren:

Number 130, Christine Sniadach, petitioner, versus Family Finance Corporation of Bay View.

Mr. Greenber.

Jack Greenber:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This case is here on certiorari to review a judgment of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, two justices dissenting, upholding that state's prejudgment garnishment statutory scheme.

The case involves, we would like to emphasize at the outset, prejudgment garnishment, that is, the seizure of wages own -- owed by an employer to petitioner, or -- who was his employee, at the outset of legal action without a rule by a judge or a jury, not after judgment when judge and jury have ruled upon this, to collect moneys, a judge to be owed the validity of which prediction will ultimately be determined in an action to follow in which the merits of a claim will be tried.Petitioner was a $65.00 a week wage earner and the amount garnished under the statute was $31.59 or half of $63.18 which was one week's paycheck, the money owed to her for the period in question.

Potter Stewart:

And that's a one-shot proposition under Wisconsin law?

Jack Greenber:

One pay period.

In her case, the pay period was a week.

It might be a month if the pay period is a month, but it's one week.

Potter Stewart:

But that's all?

It can't be done again, is that right?

Jack Greenber:

That's right.

Potter Stewart:

Right under the same underlying claim?

Jack Greenber:

That's right.

It cannot be done again in this action.

It could be done again in another action.

Potter Stewart:

Yes.

Jack Greenber:

After the termination of the principal action.

Potter Stewart:

Well, the sum total is this $31.00 or $32.00.

Jack Greenber:

That's correct.

Byron R. White:

You mean the employer is perfectly free to have paid them for the next pay period?

Jack Greenber:

That's correct and indeed, the employer pays her a subsistence allowance which in this case, was also $31.59.

Byron R. White:

But if she goes on -- if the employee goes on working the next pay period --

Jack Greenber:

She gets all $65.00.

Byron R. White:

She gets the whole and the creditor may not attach that also.

Jack Greenber:

May not.

So, the remaining $31.59, as indicated, was paid to her as a subsistence allowance in according to Wisconsin law.

The wages were withheld merely upon the filing of a complaint in garnishment of the petitioner's employer which alleged only three things as required by statute.

These are mere allegations, but petitioner was indebted to respondent by virtue of an alleged contract that the amount due was $420.00 and that petitioner's employer owed her wages.

And on pages 3 and 7 of the record, the -- all that had to be alleged is set forth.