640 F.2d 454 (3rd Cir. 1981), 80-1306, Mountain Brook Orchards, Inc. v. Marshall

Docket Nº80-1306.
Citation640 F.2d 454
Party NameMOUNTAIN BROOK ORCHARDS, INC., Appellee, v. Ray MARSHALL, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor, Appellant.
Case DateJanuary 21, 1981
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Page 454

640 F.2d 454 (3rd Cir. 1981)

MOUNTAIN BROOK ORCHARDS, INC., Appellee,

v.

Ray MARSHALL, Secretary of Labor, United States Department

of Labor, Appellant.

No. 80-1306.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

January 21, 1981

Argued Oct. 10, 1980.

As Amended March 6, 1981.

Carin Ann Clauss, Sol. of Labor, Ronald G. Whiting, Associate Sol., Paul E. Myerson, Laurie E. Rucoba (argued), Attys., U. S.

Page 455

Dept. of Labor, Washington, D. C., for appellant.

Myers, Myers, Flower & Johnson, Edmund G. Myers (argued), Lemoyne, Pa., for appellee.

Before SEITZ, Chief Judge, HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judge and MEANOR, District Judge. [*]

OPINION

A. LEON HIGGINBOTHAM, Jr., Circuit Judge.

For almost two decades Congress has been concerned with the exploitation of migrant labor in agriculture. The record demonstrates that often migrant laborers have been cheated of their wages, overcharged for their purchases, transported in unsafe and uninsured vehicles, and forced to live in run down unsanitary housing that was destructive of their health and a repudiation of their inherent dignity as human beings. 1 While the plight of the victim has been self-evident, the specific solutions for eradicating these wholesale injustices have been more elusive. One of the Congressional tools designed to deter the worst abuses has been passage of statutes which require farm labor contractors to be certified by the Department of Labor and which prohibit any person from engaging the service of a farm labor contractor "unless he first determines that the farm labor contractor possesses a certificate from the Secretary that is in full force and effect at the time he contracts with the farm labor contractor." 7 U.S.C. § 2043(c) (hereinafter § 2043(c)). 2 For purposes of this appeal, the primary issue is whether a grower has violated the statute when he places a farm labor contractor in control of housing when the contractor has been certified for some purposes, but not for housing matters.

In effect, the district court held that a farm labor contractor's certification under § 2043(c) for any one endeavor, was a certification in "full force and effect" for all endeavors. We disagree with the lower court and reverse. Since the other issues raised by the grower were not reached by the district court because of its construction of § 2043(c), we remand the case for the court's adjudication of each of those issues. 3

I.

The pertinent facts of this case are not in dispute. Mountain Brook Orchards (hereinafter Mountain Brook) runs an orchard comprising some eight hundred acres on which it grows fruit such as apples and peaches. In the summer of 1977, Mountain Brook hired Frank Lowe, Ozzie Lovett, and Emmett Rozier as farm labor contractors. In this capacity, they furnished migrant laborers to help in harvesting the orchard's

Page 456

crop. The contractors possessed an unrevoked and current certificate of registration which authorized them to recruit, solicit, hire, furnish and transport migrant workers; but they were not authorized to house migrant workers. Mountain Brook admitted that the certificate cards of contractors Lowe, Lovett and Rozier were marked "Not Authorized" for housing in 1977 at a time when each of the contractors and the migrant labor force were living in housing at Mountain Brook. App. at 112. Thus, none of the contractors were certified to house migrant workers when they were hired. When Jerry Edwards, the manager of Mountain Brook, hired them, he inspected each of their certificates of registration, and, at that time he was made aware that each registration card clearly showed upon its face that the contractor was not authorized to house migrant workers.

II.

These proceedings started when on February 17, 1978 and March 15, 1978 the Secretary of Labor (hereinafter Secretary) assessed civil money damages totalling $750.00 against Mountain Brook pursuant to Section 9(b)(1), 7 U.S.C. § 2048(b)(1). He alleged that the owner violated § 2043(c) by engaging an unregistered farm labor contractor. A hearing was timely requested by Mountain Brook. On April 10, 1978, this hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Eli Nash, Jr. in Harrisburg. In a thoughtful opinion he discussed the pivotal question, which is not now before us, 4 as to whether Mountain Brook or the labor contractors were in "control" of the housing within the context of the Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act (hereinafter the Act). After concluding that the contractors were in control of the housing he affirmed the Secretary's assessment of the $750.00 penalty. Mountain Brook appealed to the district court, which reversed the ALJ's decision and found the Secretary's interpretation of § 2043(c) erroneous. In arguing this appeal, the counsel for the Secretary stressed that their interest was not in the nullification of a $750.00 fine but rather a concern that the trial court's interpretation was "... plainly...

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9 practice notes
  • 713 F.2d 225 (7th Cir. 1983), 81-1897, De La Fuente v. Stokely-Van Camp, Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • June 29, 1983
    ...697 F.2d 1333, 1335-37 (9th Cir.1983); Donovan v. Marrero, 695 F.2d 791, 792-93 (3rd Cir.1982); Mountain Brook Orchards v. Marshall, 640 F.2d 454, 457-58 (3rd Cir.1981); S.Rep. No. 1295, 93d Cong., 2d Sess., reprinted in 1974 U.S.Code Cong. & Ad.News 6441-6451. The Act compels "far......
  • 576 F.Supp. 915 (D.N.J. 1983), Civ. 83-4023, Harris v. Heckler
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 3th Circuit District of New Jersey
    • November 18, 1983
    ...quoting Reiter v. Sonotone Corp., 442 U.S. 330, 337, 99 S.Ct. 2326, 2330, 60 L.Ed.2d 931 (1979); Mountain Brook Orchards v. Marshall, 640 F.2d 454, 456 (3d Cir.1981). Absent any contrary indication, I must take the words used to have their ordinary meaning. Consumer Product Safety Comm'n v.......
  • 618 F.Supp. 579 (W.D.Mich. 1985), G82-391 CA6, Mendez v. Brady
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit Western District of Michigan
    • June 6, 1985
    ...a cause of action for migrant workers "forced to live in run-down unsanitary housing...." Mountain Brook Orchards v. Marshall, 640 F.2d 454, 455 (3d Cir.1981). Brady Camp was properly inspected and duly licensed by the Michigan Department of Health in both 1980 and 1982. However, ......
  • 783 F.Supp. 1368 (S.D.Fla. 1992), 89-2367, Saintida v. Tyre
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 11th Circuit Southern District of Florida
    • January 10, 1992
    ...agricultural workers, if the contractor will be used for this activity. 29 C.F.R. § 500.71; Mountain Brook Orchards, Inc. v. Marshall, 640 F.2d 454, 459 (3rd The Defendants admit that they utilized the services of Paul as a farm labor contractor, even though Paul was not properly registered......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • 713 F.2d 225 (7th Cir. 1983), 81-1897, De La Fuente v. Stokely-Van Camp, Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • June 29, 1983
    ...697 F.2d 1333, 1335-37 (9th Cir.1983); Donovan v. Marrero, 695 F.2d 791, 792-93 (3rd Cir.1982); Mountain Brook Orchards v. Marshall, 640 F.2d 454, 457-58 (3rd Cir.1981); S.Rep. No. 1295, 93d Cong., 2d Sess., reprinted in 1974 U.S.Code Cong. & Ad.News 6441-6451. The Act compels "far......
  • 576 F.Supp. 915 (D.N.J. 1983), Civ. 83-4023, Harris v. Heckler
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 3th Circuit District of New Jersey
    • November 18, 1983
    ...quoting Reiter v. Sonotone Corp., 442 U.S. 330, 337, 99 S.Ct. 2326, 2330, 60 L.Ed.2d 931 (1979); Mountain Brook Orchards v. Marshall, 640 F.2d 454, 456 (3d Cir.1981). Absent any contrary indication, I must take the words used to have their ordinary meaning. Consumer Product Safety Comm'n v.......
  • 618 F.Supp. 579 (W.D.Mich. 1985), G82-391 CA6, Mendez v. Brady
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 6th Circuit Western District of Michigan
    • June 6, 1985
    ...a cause of action for migrant workers "forced to live in run-down unsanitary housing...." Mountain Brook Orchards v. Marshall, 640 F.2d 454, 455 (3d Cir.1981). Brady Camp was properly inspected and duly licensed by the Michigan Department of Health in both 1980 and 1982. However, ......
  • 783 F.Supp. 1368 (S.D.Fla. 1992), 89-2367, Saintida v. Tyre
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 11th Circuit Southern District of Florida
    • January 10, 1992
    ...agricultural workers, if the contractor will be used for this activity. 29 C.F.R. § 500.71; Mountain Brook Orchards, Inc. v. Marshall, 640 F.2d 454, 459 (3rd The Defendants admit that they utilized the services of Paul as a farm labor contractor, even though Paul was not properly registered......
  • Request a trial to view additional results