Brief Fact Summary. Lee (Plaintiff) sought to enjoin the sale of land to Hansberry (Defendants) on the ground that the sale violated a racially restrictive covenant.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. There must be adequate representation of the members of a class action in order for the judgment to be binding on the parties not adequately represented.
Facts. Defendants, who were African Americans, bought and moved into a house in Chicago covered by a racially restrictive covenant. Owners of neighboring homes sued in an Illinois Circuit Court to void the sale of the home to the Defendants. Defendant argued that the covenant never became effective because it was not signed by 95% of the homeowners, as required by its terms. The trial court voided the sale to the Defendants and ordered them to move. It found that they were bound by a decision that the covenant was valid based on Burke v. Kleiman. When the judgment of a state court, based on the decision of another court, is challenged for want of due process, it is the duty of the Supreme Court of the United States to examine the course of procedure in both litigations to determine whether the litigant whose rights have been effected has been afforded notice and opportunity to be heard as required by due process.
Issue. Whether a party can be bound by an earlier judgment of which they were not a party?