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Sniadach v. Family Finance Corp

Citation. Sniadach v. Family Finance Corp., 395 U.S. 337 (1969)
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Brief Fact Summary.

The Defendant claims that the freezing of her wages before notice a hearing violated her Due Process rights.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

According to the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment a state must give notice and a hearing prior to the taking of property


Plaintiff FFC, a collection agency, brought a wage-garnishment action against Defendant Sniadach, freezing her wages. A Wisconsin law enabled FFC to garnish wages before a trial and a hearing but Sniadach claims the law violates her Fourteenth Amendment right to Due Process.


According to the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, does a state government have to give notice and an opportunity to be heard before taking property?


Yes. A state must give notice and an opportunity to be heard prior to the taking of property. Decision of the Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed.


1. Lack of notice and an opportunity to be heard violates Due Process rights
2. Wages is a unique form of property.
3. Sniadach’s due process rights were violated through her inability to be heard prior to the freezing of her wages, which was her property.
4. Wages can be unfrozen, but this is too great a burden on families and those who may really need the money and are deprived of it for the time the wages are frozen.
5. Thus, the Wisconsin law allowing the taking of wages requires prior notice and an opportunity to be heard.

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