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Campbell Soup Co. v. Wentz

decided: December 23, 1948.

CAMPBELL SOUP CO.
v.
WENTZ ET AL. CAMPBELL SOUP CO. V. LOJESKI.



Author: Goodrich

Before BIGGS, Chief Judge, and GOODRICH and O'CONNELL, Circuit Judges.

GOODRICH, Circuit Judge.

These are appeals from judgments of the District Court denying equitable relief to the buyer under a contract for the sale of carrots.The defendants in No. 9648 are the contract sellers. The defendant in No. 9649 is the second purchaser of part of the carrots which are the subject matter of the contract.

The transactions which raise the issues may be briefly summarized. On June 21, 1947, Campbell Soup Company (Campbell), a New Jersey corporation, entered into a written contract with George B. Wentz and Harry T. Wentz, who are Pennsylvania farmers, for delivery by the Wentzes to Campbell of all the Chantenay red cored carrots to be grown on fifteen acres of the Wentz farm during the 1947 season. Where the contract was entered into does not appear. The contract provides, however, for delivery of the carrots at the Campbell plant in Camden, New Jersey. The prices specified in the contract ranged from $23 to $30 per ton according to the time of delivery.The contract price for January, 1948 was $30 a ton.

The Wentzes harvested approximately 100 tons of carrots from the fifteen acres covered by the contract. Early in January, 1948, they told a Campbell representative that they would not deliver their carrots at the contract price. The market price at that time was at least $90 per ton, and Chantenay red cored carrots were virtually unobtainable. The Wentzes then sold approximately 62 tons of their carrots to the defendant Lojeski, a neighboring farmer. Lojeski resold about 58 tons on the open market, approximately half to Campbell and the balance to other purchasers.

On January 9, 1948, Campbell, suspecting that Lojeski was selling it "contract carrots, refused to purchase any more, and instituted these suits against the Wentz brothers and Lojeski to enjoin further sale of the contract carrots to others, and to compel specific performance of the contract. The trial court denied equitable relief.*fn1 We agree with the result reached, but on a different ground from that relied upon by the District Court.

The case has been presented by both sides as though Erie Railroad v. Tompkins, 1938, 304 U.S. 64, 58 S. Ct. 817, 82 L. Ed. 1188, 114 A.L.R. 1487, and Klaxon Company v. Stentor Electric Manufacturing Co., Inc., 1941, 313 U.S. 487, 61 S. Ct. 1020, 85 L. Ed. 1477, had never been decided. We are not advised as to the place of the contract, although as we have pointed out in other cases, the Pennsylvania conflict of laws rule, which binds us here, refers matters concerning the validity and extent of obligation of the contract to the place of making.*fn2 In this instance, however, the absence of data on which to base a rule of reference does not preclude the decision of the case. We have said several times in this Circuit that the question of the form of relief is a matter for a federal court to decide.*fn3 But neither federal decisions*fn4 nor the law of New Jersey or Pennsylvania as expressed in the Uniform Sales Act*fn5 differ upon this point. A ...


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