Allenberg Cotton Co., Inc. v. Pittman
419 U.S. 20 (1974)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Allenberg Cotton Co., Inc. v. Pittman, 419 U.S. 20 (1974)

Allenberg Cotton Co., Inc. v. Pittman

No. 73-628

Argued October 17, 1974

Decided November 19, 1974

419 U.S. 20

Syllabus

Appellant, a cotton merchant with its principal office in Memphis, Tenn., in January, 1971, negotiated a "forward" contract with appellee, a Mississippi farmer, for appellee's forthcoming cotton crop. The agreement was made through a Mississippi broker who arranged contracts for appellant for cotton to be resold in interstate and foreign markets. Appellant had contracted with mills outside Mississippi for sale of most of the cotton to be purchased in Mississippi, including that to be grown by appellee under this contract. Alleging refusal by appellee farmer to deliver the cotton, appellant brought suit for injunctive relief and damages. The Supreme Court of Mississippi, reversing the court below, dismissed the complaint, holding that appellant's contracts were wholly intrastate, being completed upon delivery of cotton at the warehouse, and upholding appellee's contention that the Mississippi courts could not be used to enforce the contract as appellant was doing business in Mississippi without the requisite certificate. Appellee moved to dismiss in this Court on the ground that the State Supreme Court did not pass on the federal question.

Held:

1. A certificate executed by the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court makes it clear that a federal question was raised and decided by that court on the validity of a state statute as applied to the facts of this case under the Commerce Clause of the Federal Constitution, and this Court has jurisdiction over the appeal. Pp. 419 U. S. 22-23.

2. The Mississippi Supreme Court's refusal to enforce the contract contravened the Commerce Clause, since the cotton in the instant transaction, though to be delivered to appellant at a local warehouse, was to be there only temporarily for sorting and classification for out-of-state shipment, and was thus already in the stream of interstate commerce. Dahnke-Walker Milling Co. v. Bondurant,257 U. S. 282. Pp. 419 U. S. 254.

276 So.2d 678, reversed and remanded.

DOUGLAS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and BRENNAN, STEWART, WHITE, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, and

Page 419 U. S. 21

POWELL, JJ., joined. REHNQUIST, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 419 U. S. 34.

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