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Law School Case Brief

WALKER v. CITY OF HUTCHINSON - 352 U.S. 112, 77 S. Ct. 200 (1956)

Rule:

Due process requires that an owner whose property is taken for public use must be given a hearing in determining just compensation. The right to a hearing is meaningless without notice. If feasible, notice must be reasonably calculated to inform parties of proceedings which may directly and adversely affect their legally protected interests. The kind of notice required will vary with circumstances and conditions.

Facts:

The City of Hutchinson, Kansas sought to condemn a part of Lee Walker’s property in order to open, widen, and extend one of the city's streets. Despite the fact that Walker’s name was known to the city and was on the official records for the property, the city provided notice of the condemnation proceedings by newspaper publication. Walker filed an equity action against the City of Hutchinson and sought to enjoin trespass upon the property by the city or the city's agents. The trial court denied Walker’s request for relief and the intermediate appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial court. 

Issue:

Did the City of Hutchinson’s notice to Walker, by publication, satisfy the requirements of due process?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The court held that the city's notice to Walker, by publication, failed to satisfy the requirements of due process. The court found no compelling or even persuasive reason for the city's failure to provide direct notice to the landowner.

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