Richards v. Jefferson County

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In Richards v. Jefferson County, 517 U.S. 793 (1997), the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that petitioners could challenge in state court the validity of the occupation tax imposed by Jefferson County Ordinance 1120, which had been adopted in 1987, despite litigation by other parties and despite the dismissal of the petitioners' federal action under the Tax Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1341. They then commenced this action in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion for the Court, concluding that:

Because petitioners received neither notice of, nor sufficient representation in, the Bedingfield litigation, that adjudication, as a matter of federal due process, may not bind them and thus cannot bar them from challenging an allegedly unconstitutional deprivation of their property. Accordingly, the judgment of the Alabama Supreme Court is reversed, and the case is remanded to that court for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.