GPO-CONAN-2017-10-15.pdf

Quasi in rem attachment proceedings if a defendant is

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Quasi in Rem: Attachment Proceedings. —If a defendant is neither domiciled nor present in a state, he cannot be served per- sonally, and any judgment in money obtained against him would be unenforceable. This does not, however, prevent attachment of a defendant’s property within the state. The practice of allowing a state to attach a non-resident’s real and personal property situated within its borders to satisfy a debt or other claim by one of its citizens goes back to colonial times. Attachment is considered a form of in 972 Arndt v. Griggs, 134 U.S. 316 (1890); Ballard v. Hunter, 204 U.S. 241 (1907); Security Savings Bank v. California, 263 U.S. 282 (1923). 973 Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306 (1950); Walker v. City of Hutchinson, 352 U.S. 112 (1956); Schroeder v. City of New York, 371 U.S. 208 (1962); Robinson v. Hanrahan, 409 U.S. 38 (1972). 974 433 U.S. 186 (1977). 975 433 U.S. at 207–08 (footnotes omitted). The Court also suggested that the state would usually have jurisdiction in cases such as those arising from injuries suffered on the property of an absentee owner, where the defendant’s ownership of the property is conceded but the cause of action is otherwise related to rights and duties growing out of that controversy. Id. 2011 AMENDMENT 14—RIGHTS GUARANTEED
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rem proceeding sometimes called “ quasi in rem, ” and under Pen- noyer v. Neff 976 an attachment could be implemented by obtaining a writ against the local property of the defendant and giving notice by publication. 977 The judgement was then satisfied from the prop- erty attached, and if the attached property was insufficient to sat- isfy the claim, the plaintiff could go no further. 978 This form of proceeding raised many questions. Of course, there were always instances in which it was fair to subject a person to suit on his property located in the forum state, such as where the property was related to the matter sued over. 979 In others, the ques- tion was more disputed, as in the famous New York Court of Ap- peals case of Seider v. Roth , 980 in which the property subject to at- tachment was the contractual obligation of the defendant’s insurance company to defend and pay the judgment. But, in Harris v. Balk , 981 the facts of the case and the establishment of jurisdiction through quasi in rem proceedings raised the issue of fairness and territori- ality. The claimant was a Maryland resident who was owed a debt by Balk, a North Carolina resident. The Marylander ascertained, apparently adventitiously, that Harris, a North Carolina resident who owed Balk an amount of money, was passing through Mary- land, and the Marylander attached this debt. Balk had no notice of the action and a default judgment was entered, after which Harris paid over the judgment to the Marylander. When Balk later sued Harris in North Carolina to recover on his debt, Harris argued that he had been relieved of any further obligation by satisfying the judg- ment in Maryland, and the Supreme Court sustained his defense, 976 95 U.S. 714 (1878). Cf. Pennington v. Fourth Nat’l Bank, 243 U.S. 269, 271 (1917); Corn Exch. Bank v. Commissioner, 280 U.S. 218, 222 (1930); Endicott Co. v.
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