HIGGINS V. CARR BROTHERS CO., 317 U. S. 572 (1943)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Higgins v. Carr Brothers Co., 317 U.S. 572 (1943)

Higgins v. Carr Brothers Co.

No. 97

Argued November 19, 1942

Decided January 18, 1943

317 U.S. 572



1. The record in this case does not warrant setting aside the conclusion of the court below that, when merchandise coming from other States was unloaded at the place of business of the wholesaler here (selling intrastate exclusively), its interstate movement had ended, and that an employee whose activities related to the goods thereafter was not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Walling v. Jacksonville Paper Co., ante, p. 317 U. S. 564, distinguished. P. 317 U. S. 574.

2. That a wholesaler whose business is exclusively intrastate is in competition with wholesalers doing interstate business is of no significance in determining the applicability of the Fair Labor Standards Act, since that Act does not extend to activities "affecting" commerce, but only to such as are "in" commerce. P. 317 U. S. 574.

26 A.2d 214 affirmed.

Page 317 U. S. 573

Certiorari, 316 U.S. 658, to review the affirmance of a judgment denying recovery of alleged unpaid wages and for damages, in a suit brought by an employee against his employer, under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a companion case to Walling v. Jacksonville Paper Co., ante, p. 317 U. S. 564, and is here on certiorari to the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine. Higgins claims minimum wages and overtime compensation alleged to be due him under §§ 6(a) and 7(a) of the Fair Labor Standards Act between January, 1939, and July, 1940. Prior to that time, respondent, which conducts a wholesale fruit, grocery, and produce business in Portland, Maine, had been selling and delivering its merchandise not only to the local trade in Maine, but also to retailers in New Hampshire. For the period here in question, the New Hampshire trade had been discontinued, and all sales and deliveries were solely to retailers in Maine. The only additional facts which we know about respondent's course of business are accurately summarized in the following excerpt from the opinion of the Supreme Judicial Court:

"It buys its merchandise from local producers and from dealers in other states, has it delivered by truck and rail, unloaded into its store and warehouse and from there sells and distributes it to the retail trade. While some of the produce

Page 317 U. S. 574

and fruit is processed, much of it is sold in the condition in which it is received. The corporation owns all of its merchandise, and makes its own deliveries. It makes no sales on commission nor on order with shipments direct from the dealer or producer to the retail purchaser."

Higgins' employment involved work as night shipper putting up orders and loading trucks for delivery to retail dealers in Maine or driving a truck distributing merchandise to the local trade.

Petitioner, in his brief, describes the business in somewhat greater detail, and seeks to show an actual or practical continuity of movement of merchandise from without the state to respondent's regular customers within the state. But here, unlike Walling v. Jacksonville Paper Co., there is nothing in the record before us to support those statements, nor to impeach the accuracy of the conclusion of the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine that, when the merchandise coming from without the state was unloaded at respondent's place of business, its "interstate movement had ended." Some effort is made to show that the court below applied an incorrect rule of law in the sense that it gave the Act too narrow a construction. In that connection, it is argued that respondent is in competition with wholesalers doing an interstate business, and that it can, by underselling, affect those businesses and their interstate activities. As we indicated in Walling v. Jacksonville Paper Co., that argument would be relevant if this Act had followed the pattern of other federal legislation, such as the National Labor Relations Act (see 29 U.S.C. § 152(7), § 160(a)) and extended federal control to business "affecting commerce." But, as we pointed out in Kirschbaum Co. v. Walling, 316 U. S. 517, this Act did not go so far, but was more narrowly confined.

Thus, petitioner has not maintained the burden of showing error in the judgment which he asks us to set aside.


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