Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Christie Industries Inc.

decided: August 3, 1972.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
CHRISTIE INDUSTRIES, INC. EDWIN C. CHRISTIE. APPEAL OF EDWIN C. CHRISTIE



Aldisert, Max Rosenn and Hunter, Circuit Judges.

Author: Hunter

Opinion OF THE COURT

JAMES HUNTER, III, Circuit Judge.

Appellant Edwin C. Christie was convicted by a jury for violating 18 U.S.C. § 401(3) by failing to obey a preliminary injunction that had been entered by the District Court. Christie was sentenced to imprisonment for one year, and appeals from the conviction and sentence.

The preliminary injunction was entered in a civil action brought by the United States against Christie and his company Christie Industries, Inc., on June 16, 1967. The complaint charged that the defendants were shipping firecracker assembly-kits and components thereof to children through interstate commerce; that the firecracker components were "banned hazardous substances" within the scope of 15 U.S.C. §§ 1261(f)(1)(A)(v), (vi) and 1261(q)(1);*fn1 and that the defendants were violating 15 U.S.C. § 1263(a) by shipping the firecracker components in interstate commerce. After a hearing on June 26, 1967, the District Court ruled in favor of the Government and directed that an order be prepared to grant the Government's request for a preliminary injunction.

On September 11, 1967, the preliminary injunction was entered, the text of which is set out in full in the margin.*fn2 Although the recitals state that the firecracker assembly-kit is comprised of various components, the order itself merely forbids dealing in "the aforesaid fireworks assembly-kits."

On April 4, 1968, the Government filed in the District Court a Petition for Order to Show Cause in criminal contempt, charging that Christie and his company had violated the preliminary injunction during the period September-December, 1967. After a trial on June 18-19, 1968, the District Court found the defendants guilty of contempt and fined each of the defendants $2500. On appeal from that conviction this court reversed, United States v. Christie Industries, Inc., 465 F.2d 1000 (3 Cir., 1971). We held:

"The government has failed to prove an essential element of the criminal contempt, viz., that the defendants violated the injunction." 1001 (emphasis added; footnote omitted).

The evidence in that case was that children received fireworks kits from "Ecco," "Ecco Products," or "Rocfuel Ltd.," but there was no evidence that the defendants were connected with those entities at the time the injunction was alleged to have been violated.

On June 24, 1969, while the first appeal was pending, the Government filed a second Petition for Order to Show Cause in criminal contempt, charging that Christie and his company had violated the preliminary injunction during the period December 1967-November 1968. After a seven-day trial in November and December 1970, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on each of the eight separate charges. On July 15, 1971, Christie was sentenced to imprisonment for one year on the second conviction, which is before us on this appeal.*fn3

I. SUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE

Christie contends that the evidence was insufficient to support a finding that he had violated the preliminary injunction. Our analysis on this question must begin with the preliminary injunction itself.

Although the Government's complaint in the civil action requested that the defendants be enjoined from shipping "any firecracker assembly-kit, or any similar article, or any component of said firecracker assembly-kits," the preliminary injunction itself referred only to "the aforesaid fireworks assembly-kits." In the recital of the preliminary injunction, the assembly-kits had been stated to contain the following five components: (1) "cylinder casings"; (2) "cup-like end caps"; (3) "fuse coil"; (4) "one plastic bag containing potassium nitrate"; and (5) "one plastic bag containing aluminum powder and sulfur." Thus phrased, the preliminary injunction was in keeping with the following colloquy between defense counsel and the District Court which took place after the Court had ruled in favor of the Government in the civil action and had directed that an order be prepared:

"MR. QUIRK: If your Honor please, could we perhaps be more specific in what the terms of the injunction would read? I assume that the items prepared today are enjoined from any further use?

"THE COURT: That particular package is.

"MR. QUIRK: That's right.

"THE COURT: That is all they are asking for.

"MR. QUIRK: All right, sir." (App., p. 2a).

Christie argues here that the preliminary injunction covered nothing more than shipments of the "kit" as such. We disagree that the preliminary injunction must be read so narrowly.

It is true, as Christie argues, that a person will not be held in contempt of an order unless the order has given him fair warning that his acts were ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.