Citation. 95 U.S. 714, 5 Otto 714, 24 L. Ed. 565 (1878).
Brief Fact Summary. Defendant Neff was being sued by Mitchell in Oregon for unpaid legal fees. A default judgment was entered against Defendant for his failure to come to court or otherwise resist the lawsuit, despite the fact that he was not personally served with process, nor was a resident of Oregon. Later, in an attempt to collect upon his judgment, Mitchell attached land located in Oregon belonging to Defendant, and had it sold to Plaintiff Pennoyer through a Sheriff’s sale.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Proceedings in a court of law to determine the personal rights and obligations of parties over whom the court has not jurisdiction are invalid for want of due process of law.
Issue. Can judgments obtained against non-residents who fail to appear in court be sustained by default judgments where service of process is accomplished solely through publication (i.e. constructive service)?
Is constructive service sufficient notice to attach property within the forum state owned by a non-resident?