Creditors’ Rights – Attachment Revisited

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Under the Twelve Tablets of Ancient Rome, an insolvent debtor’s body, after certain formalities, was cut up and divided among his creditors. Under state statutes of today, alleged debtor’s assets, after certain formalities, i.e. institution of a suit and application for a writ, may be attached and held pending litigation on the merits. The certain formalities required differ with each state. Pre-Sniadach Supreme Court holdings generally upheld state attachment statutes. In Sniadach, the Court reversed this approach, emphasizing that notice and a prior hearing are essential in wage attachment proceedings. These two essential elements can be overcome only by a showing of extra-ordinary circumstances necessitating a summary procedure.


Originally published in 1972 by Arkansas Law Review.

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