Lebowitz v. Forbes Leasing and Finance Corporation, No. 71-1439.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtSEITZ, , and KALODNER and GIBBONS, Circuit
Citation456 F.2d 979
Decision Date24 February 1972
Docket NumberNo. 71-1439.
PartiesMarvin LEBOWITZ v. FORBES LEASING AND FINANCE CORPORATION (a Foreign Corporation), Appellant, et al.

456 F.2d 979 (1972)

Marvin LEBOWITZ
v.
FORBES LEASING AND FINANCE CORPORATION (a Foreign Corporation), Appellant, et al.

No. 71-1439.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.

Argued November 30, 1971.

Decided February 24, 1972.


456 F.2d 980

Lawrence Silver, Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish, Levy & Coleman, Philadelphia, Pa., for appellants.

Henry A. Stein, Mesirov, Gelman, Jaffe & Levin, Philadelphia, Pa., for appellee.

Before SEITZ, Chief Judge, and KALODNER and GIBBONS, Circuit Judges.

OPINION OF THE COURT

SEITZ, Chief Judge.

The plaintiff, a resident of Pennsylvania, is a former employee of defendant Forbes Leasing (Forbes).1 Forbes is a Delaware corporation and has its main office in New York. At all times here relevant it also maintained an office in Pennsylvania. However, at no time did it register to do business in that state.

Plaintiff originally sued in the Pennsylvania state courts seeking damages resulting from his allegedly invalid discharge by defendant. He asserted damages amounting to $200,000, and commenced his action by a writ of foreign attachment which the sheriff executed, prior to any notice to the defendant or any hearing, by serving two Philadelphia banks having Forbes checking accounts aggregating $75,000. Forbes then removed the case to the federal district court on the basis of diversity of citizenship and entered a general appearance. The attachment continued in effect. F. R. Civ. P. 64. Forbes moved to have it quashed. However, the motion was denied by the district court, 326 F.Supp. 1335, and this § 1292(b) appeal followed.

Forbes contends that the attachment of its accounts violates procedural due process of law and the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. We see no merit in the Fourth Amendment claim. Therefore, we turn immediately to the due process contention.

Pennsylvania foreign attachment procedures authorize the issuance of a writ by the prothonotary without notice to the defendant, without any hearing, without an affidavit of meritorious action, without the posting of a bond, and without intervention by a judicial officer. Indeed, the attachment may precede the filing of the complaint by as much as five days. Once the attachment becomes effective, it is not dissolved by the general appearance of the defendant. Rather, dissolution occurs only if, inter alia, the defendant posts an adequate bond or other acceptable security or the plaintiff fails to prosecute his case with due diligence. Also, provision is made that if the defendant can demonstrate that the amount of property attached is excessive when compared to the amount in controversy he may obtain a reduction.

Specifically, Forbes contends that the Supreme Court's recent expression concerning due process expounded in Sniadach v. Family Finance Corp., 395 U.S. 337, 89 S.Ct.1820, 23 L.Ed.2d 349 (1969) renders the Pennsylvania foreign attachment procedures unconstitutional. In Sniadach the Court held that Wisconsin's prejudgment wage garnishment law contravened the due process clause of the Constitution to the extent that it permitted prejudgment garnishment of a small debtor's wages without notice or a hearing. Noting the difference in factual settings between Sniadach and this appeal the preliminary inquiry therefore, is whether the due process principles expounded in Sniadach and its apparent

456 F.2d 981
progeny2 render the Pennsylvania's foreign attachment procedures unconstitutional

In Boddie v. Connecticut, 401 U.S. 371, 91 S.Ct. 780, 28 L.Ed.2d 113 (1971), Justice Harlan noted that due process principles are the guarantors of an efficient system for resolving disputes. We believe that the issue here should be examined in light of this observation. In this case both parties are private persons. Thus, our principal concern is whether the attachment procedures being challenged critically impair the resolution of disputes without serving to preserve any compensating governmental interest. The Court in Sniadach faced such a situation. There the seizure of Mrs. Sniadach's wages prior to any hearing on the merits of the plaintiff's claim tended to reverse the usual litigating postures of the parties. Ordinarily the plaintiff bears the burden of bringing suit and proving his claim. But Sniadach involved a situation where the defendant, as a result of the wage seizure, found herself deprived of her only means of support and, in effect, unable to avoid settlement and await the opportunity to present her defense in an adversary proceeding.

Plaintiff's first contention...

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23 practice notes
  • Thompson v. Washington, No. 71-2049.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 10. Dezember 1973
    ...(S.D.Cal., 1972) (California Commercial Code Section 9-503, 9-504 invalidated) with Lebowitz v. Forbes Leasing and Financing Corporation, 456 F.2d 979 (1972), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 843, 93 S.Ct. 42, 34 L.Ed.2d 82 31 See Graham v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 365, 374, 91 S.Ct. 1848, 29 L.Ed.2d 534......
  • Soldal v. County of Cook, No. 89-3631
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • 27. August 1991
    ...the skepticism of three members of this court. The Third Circuit gave a peremptory "no" in Lebowitz v. Forbes Leasing & Finance Corp., 456 F.2d 979, 980 (3d Cir.1972). There is, as we shall see, a Tenth Circuit case that bears closely though not decisively on the issue. The district courts ......
  • Jonnet v. Dollar Sav. Bank of City of New York, No. 75--1529
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 9. Februar 1976
    ...of Pennsylvania foreign attachment procedures 1 are before this court. Four years ago in Lebowitz v. Forbes Leasing & Finance Corp., 456 F.2d 979 (3d Cir. 1972), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 843, 93 S.Ct. 42, 34 L.Ed.2d 82, rehearing denied, 409 U.S. 1049, 93 S.Ct. 509, 34 L.Ed.2d 502 (1972), we ......
  • US Industries, Inc. v. Gregg, Civ. A. No. 4431.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Delaware)
    • 28. September 1972
    ...Fuentes v. Shevin, 407 U.S. 67, 92 S.Ct. 1983, 1999, 32 L.Ed.2d 556, at n. 23. See also Lebowitz v. Forbes Leasing & Finance Corp., 456 F.2d 979 (3rd Cir. 1972).348 F. Supp. 1022 afford the defendant an opportunity to defeat the state's interest in securing jurisdiction by the simple expedi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • Thompson v. Washington, No. 71-2049.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 10. Dezember 1973
    ...(S.D.Cal., 1972) (California Commercial Code Section 9-503, 9-504 invalidated) with Lebowitz v. Forbes Leasing and Financing Corporation, 456 F.2d 979 (1972), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 843, 93 S.Ct. 42, 34 L.Ed.2d 82 31 See Graham v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 365, 374, 91 S.Ct. 1848, 29 L.Ed.2d 534......
  • Soldal v. County of Cook, No. 89-3631
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • 27. August 1991
    ...of three members of this court. The Third Circuit gave a peremptory "no" in Lebowitz v. Forbes Leasing & Finance Corp., 456 F.2d 979, 980 (3d Cir.1972). There is, as we shall see, a Tenth Circuit case that bears closely though not decisively on the issue. The district courts a......
  • Jonnet v. Dollar Sav. Bank of City of New York, No. 75--1529
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 9. Februar 1976
    ...of Pennsylvania foreign attachment procedures 1 are before this court. Four years ago in Lebowitz v. Forbes Leasing & Finance Corp., 456 F.2d 979 (3d Cir. 1972), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 843, 93 S.Ct. 42, 34 L.Ed.2d 82, rehearing denied, 409 U.S. 1049, 93 S.Ct. 509, 34 L.Ed.2d 502 (1972),......
  • US Industries, Inc. v. Gregg, Civ. A. No. 4431.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Delaware)
    • 28. September 1972
    ...Fuentes v. Shevin, 407 U.S. 67, 92 S.Ct. 1983, 1999, 32 L.Ed.2d 556, at n. 23. See also Lebowitz v. Forbes Leasing & Finance Corp., 456 F.2d 979 (3rd Cir. 1972).348 F. Supp. 1022 afford the defendant an opportunity to defeat the state's interest in securing jurisdiction by the simple ex......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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