Constitutional Law - Due Process - Supreme Court Recognizes Entitlement Status of a Claim to Continued Utility Service
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Davlin, Michael C.
INTRODUCTION|Following a trend begun in the lower federal courts, the United States Supreme Court in Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division v. Craft, announced that the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment encompassed within its protection the claim of "entitlement" to continued utility service. Given the existence of this protected interest in continued utility service, the Court had occasion to address the question of what process was due a complaining utility customer. In the Court's opinion, due process necessitated an informal hearing before a designated utility official at which an aggrieved customer, in the case of a disputed bill, might present his complaint before his utility service could be discontinued. The Court also stated that due process required notification by the utility of the availability of the required procedure.|This recognition of a protected interest affirmed the lower courts' application of the entitlement concept to a claim to continued utility service. By examining recent Supreme Court entitlement cases and these lower court opinions, this casenote will trace the development of the entitlement theory, and will illustrate the consistency between the Craft ruling and these earlier decisions. In addition, procedural requirements will be analyzed in light of general notions of due process and the standards imposed in earlier utility cases...
12 Creighton L. Rev. 1243 (1978-1979)
Creighton University School of Law