Mayo v. Lakeland Highlands Canning Co.
309 U.S. 310 (1940)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Mayo v. Lakeland Highlands Canning Co., 309 U.S. 310 (1940)

Mayo v. Lakeland Highlands Canning Co.

No. 270

Argued January 12, 1940

Decided February 26, 1940

309 U.S. 310




Canners of citrus fruits operating in Florida, some of them domiciled in other States, sued to enjoin an official from enforcing an order made under color of a Florida statute and purporting to fix the price to be paid the grower for grapefruit, the bill alleging unconstitutionality of the statute, invalidity of the order for failure to comply with the statutory requirements, and threat of irreparable injury.


1. That, upon application under Jud.Code § 266, heard upon the bill, affidavits, and other evidence, the question before the District Court was not whether the Act was constitutional or unconstitutional, nor whether there had been compliance with its requirements, if valid, but was whether the showing made raised serious questions, under the federal Constitution and the state law, and disclosed that enforcement of the Act, pending final hearing, would inflict irreparable damages upon the complainants. P. 309 U. S. 316.

The court should have confined itself to those issues. Expressions of opinion on the ultimate merits were premature.

Page 309 U. S. 311

2. It is of the highest importance to a proper review in the granting or refusing of a preliminary injunction that there be explicit findings of fact, in compliance with § 52(a) of the Rules of Civil Procedure. P. 309 U. S. 316.

3. The question whether the bill failed to state facts sufficient to raise a substantial question as to the constitutional validity of the statute could have been raised for prompt decision by motion to dismiss. P. 309 U. S. 317.

4. The bill raises questions of the validity of the statute, and as to whether it has ever been put in operation in accordance with its terms, that preclude a judgment of dismissal. P. 309 U. S. 318.

5. The mere fact that the Act fixes prices is, in itself, insufficient to invalidate it, and allegation of that fact does not raise substantial federal questions. P. 309 U. S. 318.

6. Nonresident plaintiffs may be entitled to maintain the suit before one District Judge upon the ground that the conditions of the statute were not officially complied with, even though it be found that there is no substance in the constitutional questions presented. P. 309 U. S. 318.

28 F.Supp. 44 reversed.

Appeal from an interlocutory decree of injunction.

MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.

The appellees, corporations of Florida and other states and individuals, engaged in the canning of citrus fruits in that state, filed their bill in the District Court for Southern Florida against Nathan Mayo, as Commissioner of Agriculture of Florida, praying injunctions, temporary and final, to restrain him from cancelling their licenses

Page 309 U. S. 312

as citrus fruit dealers from enforcing against them a regulation made pursuant to a state statute and from interfering with the conduct of their business by reason of their failure to comply with the statute.

On presentation of the bill and motion for temporary relief, the court issued a restraining order and convened a court of three judges. The Florida Citrus Commission was permitted to intervene as a defendant. After hearing on affidavits, filed by appellees and appellant Mayo, and on evidence offered by the appellees, the court granted a temporary injunction pending final hearing. [Footnote 1] The Commissioner and the intervener have appealed.

The bill alleges the importance of the grapefruit canning industry in the State, and asserts that the appellees, in the conduct of their business, packed over sixty percent of the total grapefruit and grapefruit juice canned in the State in seasons prior to that of 1938

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