Florida Lime & Avocado Growers, Inc. v. Jacobsen
362 U.S. 73 (1960)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Florida Lime & Avocado Growers, Inc. v. Jacobsen, 362 U.S. 73 (1960)

Florida Lime and Avocado Growers, Inc. v. Jacobsen

No. 49

Argued December 9-10, 1959

Decided March 7, 1960

362 U.S. 73

Syllabus

Appellants who are engaged in the business of growing, packing and marketing Florida avocados in interstate commerce, sued in a Federal District Court to enjoin appellees, state officers of California, from enforcing § 792 of the California Agricultural Code, which prohibits the importation or sale in California of avocados containing less than 8% of oil by weight. Appellants claimed that § 792 violated the Commerce and Equal Protection Clauses of the Federal Constitution, as well as the Federal Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 and Florida Avocado Order No. 69 issued thereunder. A three-judge District Court convened to hear the case dismissed the action, and a direct appeal was taken to this Court.

Held:

1. Since the complaint sought an injunction against enforcement of the state statute on grounds of federal unconstitutionality, the action was required to be heard by a three-judge District Court under 28 U.S.C. § 2281, and this Court has jurisdiction of this direct appeal under 28 U.S.C. §1253 -- notwithstanding the fact that the complaint also alleged that the state statute conflicted with the federal Act. Pp. 362 U. S. 75-85.

2. In view of the allegation of the complaint that appellants have made more than a score of shipments of Florida avocados to California and that appellees have consistently condemned them for failure to contain 8% or more of oil by weight, thus forcing appellants to reship them and sell them in other States to prevent their destruction and complete loss, there is an existing dispute between the parties as to present legal rights amounting to a justiciable controversy; and the fact that appellants did not contest the validity of § 792 or seek abatement of appellees' condemnation of the avocados in California state courts does not bar their right

Page 362 U. S. 74

to seek an injunction in the federal courts against its enforcement on the ground that it violates both the Federal Constitution and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. Pp. 362 U. S. 85-86.

169 F.Supp. 774 reversed.

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