UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
March 13, 1946
BOWLES, Price Administrator,
WEISS. SAME v. ECKERT et al.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY
This is a suit brought to restrain the defendants from the violation of Maximum Price Regulation No. 574, as amended, issued and made effective January 29, 1945, as adopted by the Office of Price Administration pursuant to the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942, as amended, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix § 901 et seq.
It is, therefore, necessary to first consider the provisions of the preamble of Maximum Price Regulation No. 574:
'That so far as practicable, the Price Administrator has advised and consulted with representative members of the industry which will be affected by said Regulation. In the judgment of the Price Administrator, the maximum prices established by this Maximum Price Regulation are and will be generally fair and equitable, and comply with the requirements of the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942, as amended, and Executive Orders Nos. 9250 and 9328, and will effectuate the purposes of said Acts and Executive Orders.'
Maximum Price Regulation No. 574 is entitled Live Bovine Animals (Cattle and Calves).
Article I. This Regulation establishes overriding ceiling prices for live bovine animals (cattle and calves). In addition, the Regulation establishes maximum amounts which slaughterers may pay for all cattle slaughtered during any accounting period. It also authorizes the Administrator to issue orders establishing the maximum percentage of good and choice cattle which slaughterers may slaughter or deliver as meat during an accounting period.
Article II. This section provides that regardless of any contract, agreement or other obligation, no person shall sell or deliver, or negotiate the sale of any live bovine animals, and no person in the course or trade or business shall buy or receive, or negotiate the purchase of any live bovine animals at a price higher than the overriding ceiling price fixed by this Regulation for such bovine animals. Also that no person in the course of trade or business shall pay for live cattle slaughtered during any accounting period an amount higher than the maximum amount fixed by this Regulation for such live cattle slaughtered during such accounting period, and no person shall agree, offer, solicit or attempt to do any of the foregoing.
Article II, Section B. No person shall evade, directly or indirectly, the price limitations or other provisions of this Regulation.
Article III, Section 9. This section sets forth the method of mathematical calculation to determine the maximum amounts which slaughterers may pay for all cattle slaughtered during any thirty day accounting period.
Separate actions were filed by Chester Bowles, Administrator, Office of Price Administrator, against Irwin Weiss, Civil Action 4463, and George Eckert and Albert Eckert, partners doing business as Eckert Brothers, Civil Action 4464, for injunctive relief to compel the defendants to comply with Maximum Price Regulation No. 574, which would prevent the defendants from paying for live cattle an amount higher than the amount provided by such regulation.
In substance, the end sought to be achieved by the Regulation was to get a minimum graded percentage yield out of each carcass dressed by the defendants. It was on the basis of the percentage yield of a particular grade of beef that the permissible price which could be paid for the live animal was established.
If, for instance, a slaughterer was able to get the percentage yield of Grade A beef, which was 58%, then the price which he had paid for the live animal complied with the Regulation. If, however, his yield in that same grade was less than 58%, then it automatically followed that the price he had paid for his cattle, even though it was below the ceiling price in the district which governed the maximum price that could be paid, was higher than the permissible established by the Regulation.
Each month, each slaughterer or defendants had the obligation under said Regulation to file Form DS-T-55, showing actual cost of his cattle, percentage of yield for the various grades, and the permissible price as worked out under the formula set up in the form itself.
The following table will show, as to each defendant, the permissible prices, the actual payments, and the approximate percentage of over-payments, and the approximate percentage of over-payments as drawn from the Forms DS-T-55:
Permissible Actual Amount of
Defendant Period Price Price Paid Overpayment
A. Irwin Weiss Apr., 1945 $ 16,740.66 $ 17,644.32 $ 923.66
B. Eckert Bros. Apr., 1945 $ 24,717.44 $ 25,900.95 $ 1183.51
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