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GRANNIS V. ORDEAN, 234 U. S. 385 (1914)

U.S. Supreme Court

Grannis v. Ordean, 234 U.S. 385 (1914)

Grannis v. Ordean

Nos. 325, 326

Argued April 27, 28, 1914

Decided June 8, 1914

234 U.S. 385


Where the trial court did not infringe any federal right of plaintiff in error, but the decision of the appellate court ran counter to the alleged federal right which was raised on petition for reargument and specifically passed on and overruled in refusing the reargument, this Court has jurisdiction under § 237, Judicial Code, to review the judgment.

In determining what is due process of law within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, there is a distinction between actions in personam and actions in rem; in the former, judgments without personal service within the state are devoid of validity either within or without the state, but in the latter, the judgment, although based on service by publication, may be valid so far as it affects property within the state. Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U. S. 714.

Where a state has jurisdiction over the res, the judgment of the court to which that jurisdiction is confided, in order to be binding with respect to the interest of a nonresident not served with process within the state, must be based upon constructive service by mailing, publication, or otherwise in accordance with the law of the state.

This Court must exercise an independent judgment as to whether the process sanctioned by the court of last resort of the state constituted due process of law; it is not bound by, nor can it merely accept, the decision of the state court on that question.

While the fundamental requisite of due process of law is the opportunity to be heard, that does not impose an unattainable standard of accuracy, and a defendant served with process either personally, or by publication and mailing, in which his name is misspelled cannot safely ignore it on account of the misnomer.

The general rule in cases of constructive service of process by publication tends to strictness, but even in names, due process of law does not require ideal accuracy.

In constructive service of process by publication and mailing, where

Page 234 U. S. 386

there has been a misnomer, neither the test of idem sonans nor that of substantial similarity in appearance in print is the true one, but whether the summons, as published and mailed, complies with the law of the state so as to give sufficient constructive notice to the party misnamed.

In this case, held that a summons in an action of foreclosure, served by publication and mailing and otherwise in strict compliance with the state statute, did not deprive a defendant of his property without due process of law because his name was misspelled Albert Guilfuss, Assignee, in the various papers instead of correctly, Albert B. Geilfuss, Assignee.

118 Minn. 117 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the validity under the due process provision of the Fourteenth Amendment of a judgment based on service by publication in which the name of the defendant was misspelled, are stated in the opinion.

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