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United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Harris v. Bailey, 675 F.2d 614 (C.A.4 (Va.), 1982). After Virginia Harris's bank account was garnished by the University of Virginia Hospital for nonpayment of a small hospital bill, Brock Green agreed to represent her. Because Mrs. Harris's bank account contained only the proceeds of her Social Security checks, Mr. Green successfully argued that the Virginia garnishment statute was unconstitutional by allowing a creditor to take Mrs. Harris's Social Security benefits out of her bank account. The United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia agreed with Mr. Green and declared the state garnishment statute unconstitutional. The Court also entered an injunction prohibiting all creditors in the State of Virginia from using the garnishment statute until it was rewritten by the legislature in a manner to give adequate protections to people with exempt income in their bank accounts. This case also involved complicated issues of state and federal procedures.


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