632 F.2d 365 (4th Cir. 1980), 79-1349, Com. of Puerto Rico ex rel. Quiros v. Alfred L. Snapp & Sons, Inc.

Docket Nº:79-1349.
Citation:632 F.2d 365
Party Name:The COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO on the Relation of Carlos S. QUIROS, Secretary, Department of Labor and Human Resources, Appellants, v. ALFRED L. SNAPP & SONS, INC.; Alfred L. Snapp, Sr., Chief Officer; John T. Watt& Son, a corporation d/b/a Timber Ridge Fruit Farm; John T. Watt, Jr., Manager; Orchard Management Co., Inc.; Harry F. Byrd, III, Presi
Case Date:October 09, 1980
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Page 365

632 F.2d 365 (4th Cir. 1980)

The COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO on the Relation of Carlos S.

QUIROS, Secretary, Department of Labor and Human

Resources, Appellants,


ALFRED L. SNAPP & SONS, INC.; Alfred L. Snapp, Sr., Chief

Officer; John T. Watt& Son, a corporation d/b/a Timber Ridge

Fruit Farm; John T. Watt, Jr., Manager; Orchard Management

Co., Inc.; Harry F. Byrd, III, President-Treasurer; D. K.

Russell & Sons, Inc.; J. Robert Russell, President; Whitman

Orchards, a corporation; Gordon T. Whitman, President;

Robert Boyd, a corporation t/a Cloverdale Farm; Robert J.

Boyd, President-Treasurer; The C. L. Robinson Corporation;

Delmar Robinson, Jr., President; R & T Packing Corporation;

C. Robert Solenberger, President; E. Blackburn Moore; Fred

L. Glaize, Jr. & Philip B. Glaize d/b/a Cresent Orchards;

Frederick Farms; James R. Robinson, Manager; George B.

Whitacre; H. F. Byrd& T. B. Byrd; John E. Crumpacker,

Manager; H. F. Byrd; Harvey Brumback; James Clevenger;

McDonald Farms; Messick & Beaver; James Beaver; Frank L.

Snapp & Elmer G. Snapp d/b/a H. T. Snapp & Son; Frank L.

Snapp; Elmer G. Snapp; R. Roland Snapp; Robert E. Wyatt;

Stanley Bauserman; Stewart Bell; Woodside Farm; John W.

Smith; William S. Franklin; Wayne S. McInturff; James B.

Swing; George Cather; Garland R. Cather; Irvin R. King;

Albert W. Messick; C. H. Orchards, Appellees.

No. 79-1349.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

October 9, 1980

Argued April 8, 1980.

Page 366

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 367

Paul A. Lenzini, Washington, D. C. (Luis Guinot, Charles S. Fax, Lynda R. Troutman, Washington, D. C., on brief) for appellant.

S. Steven Karalekas, Arlington, Va. (Thomas J. Bacas, Charles, Karalekas & Bacas, Washington, D.C., William A. Johnson, Harrison & Johnston, Winchester, Va., on brief), for appellees.

Before BUTZNER, HALL and SPROUSE, Circuit Judges.

SPROUSE, Circuit Judge:

This is an appeal by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico 1 from an order of the district court dismissing its complaint against a number of apple growers in the State of Virginia. The district court held that Puerto Rico lacks standing under the doctrine of parens patriae to maintain this action.

There are fifty-two defendants, all engaged in the business of growing apples in Virginia (the Growers). The complaint alleged that the Growers violated laws of the United States which prefer domestic laborers (citizens of the United States) over foreign temporary laborers. It also alleged that the Growers violated their agreements to hire Puerto Rican farm workers, and discriminated against those who were hired in favor of Jamaican farm workers. The complaint sought a declaration of the rights of Puerto Rican citizens under the Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933, 29 U.S.C. §§ 49-49k as partially implemented by the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq. and the Temporary Foreign Labor Certification Regulations, 20 C.F.R. §§ 655.0 et seq. Puerto Rico alleged irreparable injury to its citizens and sought to enjoin the Growers from future violations of these federal laws.

The Growers, assigning a number of grounds, moved for dismissal of the complaint. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss on one ground only-that Puerto Rico failed to present a justiciable quasi-sovereign interest and, therefore, lacked standing under the doctrine of parens patriae. This is the sole issue on appeal.

There was a record apple crop in the orchards along the eastern coast of the United States in 1978. This generated heavy activity to recruit temporary farm workers to pick the apples. The recruiting efforts, however, were not unique to 1978, nor to the eastern coastal area of the country. The phenomenon of recruiting temporary farm workers has produced both benefits and problems for those involved for a considerable number of years.

Congress has created a strong preference favoring domestic workers. It enacted the Wagner-Peyser Act in 1933 to facilitate the flow of labor from supply states to demand states during that period of depression and high unemployment. This Act, among other things, established the interstate clearance system administered by the United States Department of Labor. Employers transmit their job offers to units of the system in this case the Puerto Rican Employment Service. To complement the Wagner-Peyser Act, Congress amended the Immigration and Nationality Act, prohibiting the entry of aliens as temporary laborers as long as capable United States workers are available. Only if the demand for workers exceeds the domestic labor supply may employers petition the Secretary of Labor for certificates of need for foreign labor. Puerto Rican workers, of course, are part of the domestic labor force.

I. We must, in considering the correctness of a ruling on a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) motion, accept as true all material allegations of the complaint. Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 45 L.Ed.2d 343 (1975). So construed, the complaint reflects the following facts. Puerto Rico, in 1978, had a record rate of unemployment conservatively estimated at 23% in the rural areas and 18.5% throughout the Commonwealth. It took a number of steps to alleviate this

Page 368

condition. It made a concerted effort to place Puerto Rican workers with mainland apple growers, including the defendants. The Puerto Rican Employment Service, in response to requests for Puerto Rican workers made through the interstate clearance system in 1978, recruited 2,318 workers. Nine hundred ninety-two of these workers were dispatched to mainland United States. The Puerto Rican Employment Service was then advised, however, to prohibit the remainder from departing Puerto Rico, because the Growers were refusing to employ Puerto Rican workers when they appeared at their orchards.

Concurrently with this sequence of events, apple growers in several states filed a suit in 1978 in the district court for the Western District of Virginia. Frederick County Fruit Growers Association, Inc. v. Marshall, Civ. Action No. 78-0086(H) (August 31, 1978), appeal dismissed and remanded, 594 F.2d 857 (4th Cir. 1979) (unpublished). That action is not involved in this appeal but is part of the background helpful to understanding the single issue presented here. In that injunction action against the United States Secretary of Labor and the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization Service, the apple growers sought to recruit and employ foreign workers. The district court granted a preliminary injunction forcing the issuance of visas for foreign workers in order to ensure the harvesting of an undamaged apple crop. Puerto Rican workers thereafter appearing at the orchard gates were either denied employment or were subsequently terminated from their employment prior to the expiration of their contracts.

II. The prosecution of parens patriae actions by a state on behalf of its citizens is a practice long embedded in Anglo-American law, Louisiana v. Texas, 176 U.S. 1, 20 S.Ct. 251, 44 L.Ed. 347 (1900), which has been expanded in this century, Hawaii v. Standard Oil Co., 405 U.S. 251, 92 S.Ct. 885, 31 L.Ed.2d 184 (1972). In order to assert such standing, however, a state must act pursuant to a "quasi-sovereign" interest. Hawaii v. Standard Oil Co., supra; Georgia v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co., 324 U.S. 439, 65 S.Ct. 716, 89 L.Ed. 1051 (1945); Pennsylvania v. West Virginia, 262 U.S. 553, 43 S.Ct. 658, 67 L.Ed. 1117 (1923); Georgia v. Tennessee Copper Co., 206 U.S. 230, 27 S.Ct. 618, 51 L.Ed. 1038 (1907). There is no specific term of art defining a "quasi-sovereign" interest. In Georgia v. Tennessee Copper Co., 206 U.S. at 237, 27 S.Ct. at 619, the Supreme Court defined it as "an interest independent of and behind the titles of its citizens." In Pennsylvania v. West Virginia, 262 U.S. at 592, 43 S.Ct. at 663, it was said to be "an...

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