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Jones v. Flowers

United States Supreme Court
547 U.S. 220 (2006)


Gary Jones (plaintiff) owned a house at 717 North Bryan Street in Little Rock, Arkansas. Beginning in 1997, he began to fail to pay property taxes on the house. After three years of delinquency, the Commissioner of State Lands, Mary Wilcox (defendant) sent a letter via certified mail to Jones’ address, informing him of his delinquency and that he had two years to pay his back taxes or the property would be sold. The letter was returned as “unclaimed.” Two years after the letter was returned, Wilcox published a notice of public sale in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. The advertisement did not receive a response, so a private sale of the property was arranged with Linda Flowers (defendant). Prior to the completion of the sale, Wilcox sent another letter to Jones, which was also returned as “unclaimed.” Flowers then purchased the house and personally served a detainer notice on the property, which was accepted by Jones’ daughter. Jones was notified and sued in Arkansas state court, arguing that the form of service employed by Wilcox was a constitutionally inadequate form of notice. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Flowers and Wilcox, which was affirmed by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

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