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Lindsey v. Normet

United States Supreme Court
405 U.S. 56 (1972)


Facts

The tenants (plaintiff) rented a single-family residence from the landlord (defendant) on a month-to-month basis. On November 10, 1969, the city deemed the residence uninhabitable. The tenants requested that the landlord make needed repairs but the landlord refused. In response, the tenants withheld rent for the month of December. The landlord threatened to evict them. In Oregon, the Forcible Entry and Wrongful Detainer Statute (FED) governs the manner in which a landlord could recover possession of rented property. The FED requires trial no later than six days after the filing of the complaint, unless the tenant pays security for accruing rent. It also limits the litigable issues in a FED suit, particularly by precluding the tenant from arguing the landlord’s breach of duty to maintain as a defense. Furthermore, the FED requires the tenant to pay a bond in twice the amount of rent in order to bring an appeal. The tenants in this case brought suit in the federal district court, seeking a finding that the FED was unconstitutional. The trial court dismissed the complaint, concluding that the FED was not unconstitutional under either the due process or the equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

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