Mississippi District Court Finds Mississippi Stop Payment Statute Unconstitutional

On April 12, 2012, United States Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander issued an order and opinion finding Mississippi’s "stop payment" statute, Miss. Code Ann. §85-7-181 (1972) unconstitutional stating:

 

[T]he court is compelled to hold that Mississippi’s stop notice statute violates due process by authorizing what is in practical effect the prejudgment attachment of funds without prior notice and hearing, or an acceptable post-seizure remedy.  Consequently, §85-7-181 is facially unconstitutional...

 

The decision has been appealed.  Because the district court’s decision is based upon an "Erie guess", the State courts in Mississippi are not bound to follow the district court’s decision.  Nonetheless, subcontractors that have previously relied upon "stop payment" rights may see this decision cited by general contractors and owners to challenge a stop payment notice.

 

It will be interesting to see how this decision develops on appeal. Stay tuned for more information.

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