Brief Fact Summary. Pursuant to Wisconsin Statute Section:176.26 (Act), the chief of police of Hartford, Wisconsin posted a notice in all liquor stores in Hartford that sale of liquor to Appellee for one year. Appellee brought suit in a federal district court to have the Act declared unconstitutional.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Where government action will impact a person’s reputation in the community, procedural due process is required.
But the doctrine of abstention contemplates that deference to state court adjudication only be made where the issue of state law is uncertain.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Did the label or characterization given by “posting” under the Act require procedural due process?
Held. Yes. Due process required notice and an opportunity to be heard before the posting of such a stigmatizing notice, which was the equivalent of an official branding of the Appellee. The notice was stigmatizing and harmful to Appellee’s reputation in the community. Dissent. None. Concurrence. None.
Discussion. Where a person’s good name, reputation, honor or integrity is at stake because of what the government is doing to him, notice and an opportunity to be heard are essential. “Posting” under the Act without any notice was unconstitutional.