220 U.S. 45 (1911), 519, Hipolite Egg Company v. United States

Docket Nº:No. 519
Citation:220 U.S. 45, 31 S.Ct. 364, 55 L.Ed. 364
Party Name:Hipolite Egg Company v. United States
Case Date:March 13, 1911
Court:United States Supreme Court

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220 U.S. 45 (1911)

31 S.Ct. 364, 55 L.Ed. 364

Hipolite Egg Company


United States

No. 519

United States Supreme Court

March 13, 1911

Submitted January 5, 1911




The object of the Pure Food and Drug Act of June 30, 1906, c. 3915, 34 Stat. 768, is to keep adulterated articles out of the channels of interstate commerce, or, if they enter such commerce, to condemn them while in transit, or in original or unbroken packages after reaching destination, and the provisions of § 10 of the act apply not only to articles for sale, but also to articles to be used as raw material in the manufacture of some other product.

In construing the Pure Food and Drug Act, all articles, compound or single, not intended for consumption by the producer, are regarded as designed for sale, and for that reason it is the concern of the law to have them pure.

The remedies given by the statute in personam and by condemnation are not inconsistent, and they are not dependent. The Three Friends, 166 U.S. 1.

By the Pure Food and Drug Act adulterated articles are, while in interstate commerce, made culpable as well as their shipper; while in original unbroken packages, they can be seized, and they carry their own identification as contraband of law; they are subject to the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, and they are not beyond the jurisdiction of the national government because within the borders of a state. Quaere how far such articles can be pursued beyond the original package.

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Congress can use appropriate means to execute the power conferred upon it by the Constitution, and the seizure and condemnation of prohibited articles in interstate commerce at their point of destination in original unbroken package is an appropriate means. McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316; Lottery Case, 188 U.S. 321, 355.

In a proceeding in rem under § 10 of the Pure Food and Drug Act, the court has jurisdiction to enter personal judgment for costs against the claimant. Quaere whether the certificate in this case presents the question of jurisdiction to award costs.

The facts, which involve the construction of certain provisions of the Pure Food Act of June 30, 1906, are stated in the opinion.

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MCKENNA, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the Court.

The case is here on a question of jurisdiction certified by the district court.

On March 11, 1909, the United States instituted libel proceedings under § 10 of the Act of Congress of June 30,

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1906, 34 Stat. 768, c. 3915, against fifty cans of preserved whole eggs which had been prepared by the Hipolite Egg Company of St. Louis, Missouri.

The eggs, before the shipment alleged in the libel, were stored in a warehouse in St. Louis for about five months, during which time they were the property of Thomas & Clark, an Illinois corporation engaged in the bakery business at Peoria, Illinois.

Thomas & Clark procured the shipment of the eggs to themselves at Peoria, and, upon the receipt of them, placed the shipment in their storeroom in their bakery factory along with other bakery supplies. The eggs were intended for baking purposes, and were not intended for sale in the original unbroken packages or otherwise, and were not so sold. The Hipolite Egg Company appeared as claimant of the eggs, intervened, filed an answer, and defended the case, but did not enter into a stipulation to pay costs.

Upon the close of libellant's evidence, and again at the close of the case, counsel for the egg company moved the court to dismiss the libel on the ground that it appeared from the evidence that the court, as a federal court, had no jurisdiction to proceed against or confiscate the eggs, because they were not shipped in interstate commerce for sale, within the meaning of § 10 of the Food and Drugs Act, and for the further reason that the evidence showed that the shipment had passed out of interstate commerce before the seizure of the eggs, because it appeared that they had been delivered to Thomas & Clark, and were not intended to be sold by them in the original packages or otherwise.

[31 S.Ct. 365] The motions were overruled, and the court proceeded to hear and determine the cause, and entered a decree finding the eggs adulterated, and confiscating them. Costs were assessed against the egg company.

The decree was excepted to on the ground that the

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court was without jurisdiction in rem over the subject matter, and on the further ground that the court was without jurisdiction to enter judgment in personam against the egg company for costs.

The jurisdiction of the district court being challenged, the case comes here directly.

Section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act prohibits the introduction into any state or territory from any other state or territory, of any article of food or drugs which is adulterated, and makes it a misdemeanor for any person to ship or deliver for shipment such adulterated article, or who shall receive such shipment, or having received it, shall deliver it in original unbroken packages for pay or otherwise.

In giving a remedy, § 10 provides that, if

any article of food . . . that is adulterated . . . and is being transported from one state . . . to another, for sale, or having been transported, remains unloaded, unsold, or in original unbroken packages, . . . shall be liable to be proceeded against in any district court of the United States within the district...

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