Washington Law Review




Adolfo Perez, driving a car registered in his name, was involved in an automobile collision in Arizona. Mr. Perez was not carrying automobile liability insurance at the time of the accident. The minor who was driving the second car and her parents sued Mr. and Mrs. Perez in an Arizona state court for personal injuries and property damage. Judgment was entered against them. Mr. and Mrs. Perez filed petitions in bankruptcy and were discharged from all their provable debts, including the judgment arising from Mr. Perez's driving mishap. During the pendency of the bankruptcy proceedings, their driver's licenses and automobile registration were suspended pursuant to the provisions of the Arizona Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act for failure to satisfy the judgment within sixty days after its entry. The suspensions continued after the Perezes received their discharges in bankruptcy, in accordance with section 28-1163(B) of the Arizona Act which provides that a discharge in bankruptcy shall not relieve judgment debtors of these penalties. The Perezes then filed a complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that section 28-1163(B) was in conflict with the Bankruptcy Act and thus violated the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed. On writ of certiorari the United States Supreme Court reversed. Held: the challenged provision conflicts with the Bankruptcy Act and is unconstitutional under the supremacy clause. Perez v. Campbell, 402 U.S. 637 (1971).

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