Logourl black
From our private database of 14,100+ case briefs...

In re Primus

United States Supreme Court
436 U.S. 412 (1978)


Facts

Attorney Edna Smith Primus (plaintiff), volunteered for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and worked for the nonprofit South Carolina Council on Human Relations (Council). During the summer of 1973, Gary Allen, a business owner from a nearby county, asked the Council to meet with women who had been forced to consent to sterilization in order to receive state Medicaid benefits. The Council asked Primus to respond. At the meeting, Primus informed sterilization victims about their legal rights and mentioned the prospect of future litigation. Mary Etta Williams, previously sterilized by Dr. Clovis H. Pierce, attended the meeting. The following month, Primus learned that the ACLU would provide representation for sterilization victims. Allen informed Primus that Williams wanted to pursue a lawsuit against Dr. Pierce. Primus wrote Williams on letterhead of the Carolina Community Law Firm and told her about the opportunity for ACLU representation. Later, Williams visited Dr. Pierce. Pierce’s attorney asked Williams to sign a release of liability. Williams signed the release and showed Pierce’s attorney the letter she had received from Primus. Williams called Primus to tell her she was not interested in a lawsuit. Primus had no further contact with Williams, but was publicly reprimanded by the state supreme court for directly soliciting a prospective client. Primus petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review of the disciplinary action.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Dissent (Rehnquist, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 220,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.