Butz v. Glover Livestock Commission Company, Inc 8212 1545, No. 71

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBRENNAN
Citation36 L.Ed.2d 142,411 U.S. 182,93 S.Ct. 1455
Docket NumberNo. 71
Decision Date28 March 1973
PartiesEarl L. BUTZ, Secretary of Agriculture, et al., Petitioners, v. GLOVER LIVESTOCK COMMISSION COMPANY, INC. —1545

411 U.S. 182
93 S.Ct. 1455
36 L.Ed.2d 142
Earl L. BUTZ, Secretary of Agriculture, et al., Petitioners,

v.

GLOVER LIVESTOCK COMMISSION COMPANY, INC.

No. 71—1545.
Argued Feb. 27, 1973.
Decided March 28, 1973.
Rehearing Denied June 4, 1973.

See 412 U.S. 933, 93 S.Ct. 2746.

Syllabus

Respondent stockyard operator, who after a hearing had been found to have short-weighted livestock and underpaid consignors on the basis of the false weights, was ordered by a Judicial Officer acting for the Secretary of Agriculture to cease and desist and to keep correct records, and its registration under the Packers and Stockyards Act was suspended for 20 days. The Court of Appeals upheld all but the suspension, which it found inappropriate in view of the other sanctions, and contrary to the Secretary's practice except for 'intentional and flagrant' violations. Held: In setting aside the suspension order, the Court of Appeals exceeded the scope of proper judicial review of administrative sanctions, since the Secretary had full authority to make the suspension order as a deterrent to violations whether intentional or negligent, and issuance of the order against respondent, who had ignored previous warnings against short-weighting, was not an abuse of administrative discretion. Pp. 185—189.

454 F.2d 109, reversed.

Keith A. Jones, for petitioners.

R. A. Eilbott, Jr., Pine Bluff, Ark., for respondent.

Page 183

Mr. Justice BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Judicial Officer of the Department of Agriculture, acting for the Secretary of Agriculture, found that respondent, a registrant under the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921, 42 Stat. 159, 7 U.S.C. § 181 et seq., wilfully violated §§ 307(a) and 312(a) of the Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 208(a) and 213(a), by incorrect weighing of livestock, and also breached § 401, 7 U.S.C. § 221, by entries of false weights. An order was entered directing that respondent cease and desist from the violations and keep correct accounts, and also suspending respondent as a registrant under the Act for 20 days. Upon review of the decision and order, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld, as supported by substantial evidence, the findings that respondent violated the Act by short-weighting cattle, and also sustained the cease-and-desist order and the order to keep correct accounts. The Court of Appeals, however, set aside the 20-day suspension. Glover Livestock Comm. Co. v. Hardin, 454 F.2d 109 (1972). We granted certiorari to consider whether, in doing so, the Court of Appeals exceeded the scope of proper judicial review of administrative sanctions. 409 U.S. 947, 93 S.Ct. 288, 34 L.Ed.2d 217 (1972). We conclude that the setting aside of the suspension was an impermissible judicial intrusion into the administrative domain under the circumstances of this case, and reverse.

Respondent operates a stockyard in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. As a registered 'market agency' under § 303 of the Act, 7 U.S.C. § 203, respondent is authorized to sell consigned livestock on commission, subject to the regulatory provisions of the Act and the Secretary's implementing regulations.1 Investigations of respondent's op-

Page 184

erations in 1964, 1966, and 1967 uncovered instances of underweighing of consigned livestock. Respondent was informally warned to correct the situation, but when a 1969 investigation revealed more underweighing, the present proceeding was instituted by the Administrator of the Packers and Stockyards Administration.

Following a hearing and the submission of briefs, the Department of Agriculture hearing examiner found that respondent had 'intentionally weighed the livestock at less than their true weights, issued scale tickets and accountings to the consignors on the basis of the false weights, and paid the consignors on the basis of the false weights.'2 The hearing examiner recommended, in addition to a cease-and-desist order and an order to keep correct records, a 30-day suspension of respondent's registration under the Act.

The matter was then referred to the Judicial Officer. After hearing oral argument, the Judicial Officer filed a decision and order accepting the hearing examiner's findings and adopting his recommendations of a cease-and-desist order and an order to keep correct records. The recommended suspension was also imposed but was reduced to 20 days. The Judicial Officer stated:

'It is not a pleasant task to impose sanctions but in view of the previous warnings given respondent we conclude that we should not only issue a cease and desist order but also a suspension of respondent

Page 185

as a registrant under the act but for a lesser period than recommended by complainant and the hearing examiner.' 30 Agri.Dec. 179, 186 (1971).

The Court of Appeals agreed that 7 U.S.C. § 204 authorized the Secretary to suspend 'any registrant found in violation of the Act,' 454 F.2d, at 113, that the suspension procedure here satisfied the relevant requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 558, and that 'the evidence indicates that (respondent) acted with careless disregard of the statutory requirements and thus meets the test of 'wilfulness." 454 F.2d, at 115. The court nevertheless concluded that the suspension order was 'unconscionable' under the circumstances of this case. The court gave two reasons. The first, relying on four previous suspension decisions, was that the Secretary's practice was not to impose suspensions for negligent or careless violations but only for violations found to be 'intentional and flagrant,' and therefore that the suspension in respondent's case was contrary to a policy of "achiev(ing) . . . uniformity of sanctions for similar violations." The second reason given was that '(t)he cease and desist order coupled with the damaging publicity surrounding these proceedings would certainly seem appropriate and reasonable with respect to the practice the Department seeks to eliminate.' Id., at 114, 115.

The applicable standard of judicial review in such cases required review of the Secretary's order according to the 'fundamental principle . . . that where Congress has entrusted an administrative agency with the responsibility of selecting the means of achieving the statutory policy 'the relation of remedy to policy is peculiarly a matter for administrative competence." American Power Co. v. SEC, 329 U.S. 90, 112, 67 S.Ct. 133, 146, 91 L.Ed. 103 (1946). Thus, the Secretary's choice of sanction was not to be overturned unless the Court of Appeals might find it 'unwarranted

Page 186

in law or . . . without justification in fact . . ..' Id., at 112 113, 67 S.Ct., at 146; Phelps Dodge Corp. v. NLRB, 313 U.S. 177, 194, 61 S.Ct. 845, 852, 85 L.Ed. 1271 (1941); Moog Industries, Inc. v. FTC, 355 U.S. 411, 413—414, 78 S.Ct. 377, 379—380, 2 L.Ed.2d 370 (1958); FTC v. Universal-Rundle Corp., 387 U.S. 244, 250, 87 S.Ct. 1622, 1626, 18 L.Ed.2d 749 (1967); 4 K.Davis, Administrative Law § 30.10, pp. 250—251 (1958). The Court of Appeals acknowledged this definition of the permissible...

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343 practice notes
  • Wheeler v. Pilgrim's Pride Corp., No. 07-40651.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • December 15, 2009
    ...In re Timbers of Inwood Forest Assocs., Ltd., 793 F.2d 1380, 1402 (5th Cir.1986). 5. See, e.g., Butz v. Glover Livestock Comm'n, Co., 411 U.S. 182, 183-84, 93 S.Ct. 1455, 36 L.Ed.2d 142 (1973) (incorrect weighing of livestock violated, among other provisions, § 213(a)); Spencer Livestock Co......
  • BISCAYNE FED. SAV. & L. v. Fed. Home Loan Bank Bd., No. 83-815-CIV-EPS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • September 9, 1983
    ...financial and organizational structure.42 In the Court's opinion a more instructive case is Butz v. Glover Livestock Commission Co., Inc., 411 U.S. 182, 93 S.Ct. 1455, 36 L.Ed.2d 142 (1973). In Butz, Plaintiff complained that the Secretary of Agriculture had imposed a harsher sanction on hi......
  • Huggins v. United States, Civil Action No. 1:10–CV–00274–GHD–DAS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Mississippi
    • March 14, 2012
    ...not “arbitrary and capricious,” that is, “unwarranted in law or without justification in fact.” See Butz v. Glover Livestock Comm'n Co., 411 U.S. 182, 185–89, 93 S.Ct. 1455, 36 L.Ed.2d 142 (1973); Goodman v. United States, 518 F.2d 505, 511–12 (5th Cir., 1975). See also Estremera v. United ......
  • Lynnville Transport, Inc. v. Chao, No. 4:02-CV-40646.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • April 15, 2004
    ...v. Occupational Safety & Health Review Comm'n, 73 F.3d 1466, 1470 (8th Cir.1996); see e.g., Butz v. Glover Livestock Comm'n Co., 411 U.S. 182, 185-86, 188-89, 93 S.Ct. 1455, 36 L.Ed.2d 142 (1973) (reversing Eighth Circuit ruling that agency erred in imposing a larger penalty than previo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
343 cases
  • Wheeler v. Pilgrim's Pride Corp., No. 07-40651.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • December 15, 2009
    ...In re Timbers of Inwood Forest Assocs., Ltd., 793 F.2d 1380, 1402 (5th Cir.1986). 5. See, e.g., Butz v. Glover Livestock Comm'n, Co., 411 U.S. 182, 183-84, 93 S.Ct. 1455, 36 L.Ed.2d 142 (1973) (incorrect weighing of livestock violated, among other provisions, § 213(a)); Spencer Livestock Co......
  • BISCAYNE FED. SAV. & L. v. Fed. Home Loan Bank Bd., No. 83-815-CIV-EPS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • September 9, 1983
    ...financial and organizational structure.42 In the Court's opinion a more instructive case is Butz v. Glover Livestock Commission Co., Inc., 411 U.S. 182, 93 S.Ct. 1455, 36 L.Ed.2d 142 (1973). In Butz, Plaintiff complained that the Secretary of Agriculture had imposed a harsher sanction on hi......
  • Huggins v. United States, Civil Action No. 1:10–CV–00274–GHD–DAS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Mississippi
    • March 14, 2012
    ...not “arbitrary and capricious,” that is, “unwarranted in law or without justification in fact.” See Butz v. Glover Livestock Comm'n Co., 411 U.S. 182, 185–89, 93 S.Ct. 1455, 36 L.Ed.2d 142 (1973); Goodman v. United States, 518 F.2d 505, 511–12 (5th Cir., 1975). See also Estremera v. United ......
  • Lynnville Transport, Inc. v. Chao, No. 4:02-CV-40646.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • April 15, 2004
    ...v. Occupational Safety & Health Review Comm'n, 73 F.3d 1466, 1470 (8th Cir.1996); see e.g., Butz v. Glover Livestock Comm'n Co., 411 U.S. 182, 185-86, 188-89, 93 S.Ct. 1455, 36 L.Ed.2d 142 (1973) (reversing Eighth Circuit ruling that agency erred in imposing a larger penalty than previo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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