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CONSOLIDATED CITRUS CO. v. GOLDSTEIN

March 14, 1963

CONSOLIDATED CITRUS COMPANY
v.
Lewis D. GOLDSTEIN



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WOOD

This is a civil action brought under the provisions of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act of 1930 and its Supplements, 7 U.S.C.A. § 499g(b) *fn1" to recover a reparation award rendered by the Secretary of Agriculture on September 29, 1960, in the sum of $ 4,514.73.

Any further reference to the above-named statute will simply be to the 'Act.'

 The defendant questions the authority of this Court to consider this matter, and he argues that we lack jurisdiction under the Act. Essentially, this case concerns two sales of oranges by the plaintiff to the defendant which were shipped by truck from Florida to Philadelphia.

 At the very outset, the defendant claimed the Complaint was defective because it did not contain any allegation that the defendant was a commission merchant, *fn2" dealer *fn3" or broker. *fn4" In support of his position, defendant cites Iwata v. Western Fruit Growers, Inc., 90 F.2d 575 (9 Cir., 1937), which dismissed a similar Complaint because it lacked an allegation that the defendant was a commission merchant, dealer or broker. We are not bound to follow this case, but, in any event, it is distinguishable from the instant matter for several reasons. The Complaint in Iwata also failed to allege diversity of citizenship and interstate commerce. These two allegations are contained in the Complaint at bar. Furthermore, the Iwata case was decided before the present Federal Rules of Civil Procedure became effective on September 1, 1938.

 The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C.A., apply to the proceeding, Hamilton Bros., Inc. v. Hazzouri, 104 F.Supp. 659 (M.D.Pa.1952) and the Act provides that the proceeding 'shall proceed in all respects like other civil suits for damages.' 7 U.S.C.A. 499g(b).

 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure should be liberally construed in order to bring about a fair and impartial administration of justice. American Fruit Growers, Inc. v. S. T. Runzo & Co., 95 F.Supp. 842 (W.D.Pa.1951).

 Rule 8(a)(1) of Fed.R.Civ.P. simply requires, 'a short and plain statement of the grounds upon which the court's jurisdiction depends.' Where jurisdiction is founded on the existence of a question arising under a particular statute, Official Form 2(c) is suggested by the Advisory Committee. Rule 84, Fed.R.Civ.P., and see Appendix of Forms, 28 U.S.C.A. This form is as follows:

 'The action arises under the Act of ..., ... Stat. ...; U.S.C., Title ..., ..., as hereinafter more fully appears.'

 An examination of the plaintiff's complaint discloses that paragraphs 1 and 2 aver the diversity of citizenship of the parties. Then paragraph 3 states:

 '3. This action is commenced in accordance with the provisions of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act of 1930 and its Supplements (46 Stat. 531; 7 U.S.C.A. 499(a) et seq.) Section 7(b).'

 Plaintiff's Complaint sufficiently satisfies one requisite of Form 2(c). Then, an additional factual statement must follow the pleaded Act which bears out a claim within the jurisdiction of the Court.

 The Act, at 499g(b), states as follows, regarding the facts to be pleaded when suit on a reparation order is filed in the District Court:

 '* * * a petition setting forth briefly the causes for which he claims damages and the order of the Secretary in the premises.'

 And further, 499g(b) states, 'the findings and orders of the Secretary shall be prima-facie evidence of the facts therein stated, * * *.' *fn5"

 Paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Complaint allege sales by the plaintiff of two truckloads of oranges f.o.b. Eustis, Florida, to the defendant on November 8th and 14th, 1958, respectively,

 '* * * which oranges were delivered and received and accepted and for which the defendant became ...


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