Lee v. Clearwater Growers' Ass'n

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtTERRELL, J.
Citation93 Fla. 214,111 So. 722
PartiesLEE et al. v. CLEARWATER GROWERS' ASS'N et al.
Decision Date11 February 1927

111 So. 722

93 Fla. 214

LEE et al.
v.
CLEARWATER GROWERS' ASS'N et al.

Florida Supreme Court, Division B.

February 11, 1927


Suit by the Clearwater Growers' Association against W. E. Lee and others for an injunction, in which the Florida Citrus Exchange intervened. From a temporary restraining order, defendants appeal.

Affirmed.

Syllabus by the Court

SYLLABUS

In construing statutes and contracts against monopolies or in restraint of trade, courts apply rule of reason rather than literal import of statute; contract violating statutes against monopolies or illegally restraining trade must be detrimental to public welfare and obnoxious to public policy. In construing statutes and contracts against monopolies or in restraint of trade, both state and federal courts apply the rule of reason rather than the literal import of the statute, and have said in substance that it must amount to an undue or unreasonable restraint of trade. It must, in other words, be such a restraint as to be detrimental to public welfare and obnoxious to public policy.

Courts universally presume contracts are legal; if contract is legal on face, illegality must be alleged and proved. Courts universally indulge the presumption that all contracts are legal, and, when legal on its face, its illegality must be alleged and proven.

Ordinarily contract not attempting to limit production and fix prices of commodities beyond real value is not void as in restraint of trade; co-operative marketing contract held not to impair obligation of contract; co-operative marketing contract held not illegal is in restraint of trade (Const. Declaration of Rights, §§ 12, 17; Acts 1923, c. 9300, § 17(b), and § 24; Acts 1909, c. 5958, as amended by Acts 1917, c. 7383, Acts 1923, cc. 9144, 9300, and Acts 1925, c. 10097). Ordinarily a contract will not be declared viod in restraint of trade which does not attempt to limit production or control and fix the price of the commodities embraced in it beyond their real value.

Agreements fixing amount of liquidated damages in co-operative marketing contracts will be upheld, in absence of showing that they unjust, oppressive, or disproportionate to actual damages. Agreements fixing the amount of liquidated damages in co-operative marketing contracts will be upheld, in the absence of a showing that the amount is unjust, oppressive, or disproportionate to the damages that would result from a breach of the agreement.

Statute authorizing injunction against breach of co-operative marketing contract and authorizing specific performance is valid (Rev. Gen. St. 1920, § 4514, par. 7, as amended by Acts 1925, c. 10097, § 2). Paragraph 7 of section 4514, Revised General Statutes of Florida 1920, authorizing injunction to prevent the breach of a co-operative marketing contract and require its specific performance, does not contravene any general law of this state and was well within its legislative prerogative. [111 So. 722]

[93 Fla. 215] Appeal from Circuit Court, Pinellas County; Freeman P. Lane, judge.

COUNSEL

Billie B. Bush, of Tampa, for appellants.

Baskin & Jordan, of Clearwater, and William Hunter, of Tampa, for appellees.

OPINION

TERRELL, J.

Appellee Clearwater Growers' Association is a co-operative marketing association organized pursuant to chapter 5958, Acts of 1909, as amended by chapter 7383, acts of 1917, as amended by chapter 9144 and chapter 9300, Acts of 1923, as amended by chapter 10097, Acts of 1925, Laws of Florida. It is a corporation, not for profit, organized for the purpose of picking, packing, processing, and marketing in a systematic and orderly manner the citrus fruits produced or controlled by its members.

The appellants W. E. Lee and Miriam Mays Lee, his wife, are members of appellee Clearwater Growers' Association, and entered into contract with it to pick, haul, [93 Fla. 216] pack, process, ship, sell, and market all their citrus fruits grown on certain lands therein more specifically described. Subsequently during the life of said contract appellants commenced disposing of their citrus fruits to other parties covered by said contract, and appellee Clearwater Growers' Association brought its bill of complaint in the circuit court of Pinellas county seeking to enjoin the sale and delivery of any citrus fruits from the lands described in said contract to any person or persons other than appellees.

The Florida Citrus Exchange was permitted by petition to intervene and become a party complainant, a demurrer to both the bill of complaint and petition for intervention was overruled and a temporary restraining order was granted, from which appeal was prosecuted to this court.

It is first contended that the contract between appellants and appellee Clearwater Growers' Association is violative of section 12 and 17 of the Declaration of Rights of the Constitution of the state of Florida, in that the law under which said appellee is created impairs the oligation of a contract in that appellee is in no way bound on its part in damages to appellants for breach of the contract complained of.

This contention of perhaps argued inferentially [111 So. 723] in brief of appellants, but under the well-established rule of this court it might properly be passed by us without consideration; suffice it to say that we know of no rule of law on which such a...

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21 practice notes
  • Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Amos
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • April 4, 1932
    ...promulgated, and that it may be compared with cognate laws to determine its meaning and effect. Lee v. Clearwater Growers' Association, 93 Fla. 214, 111 So. 722; Amos v. Mathews, 99 Fla. 1, 65, 115, 126 So. 308; Jerome H. Sheip & Co. v. Amos, 100 Fla. 863, 130 So. 699; Gray v. Central Flori......
  • Love v. Miami Laundry Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 5, 1934
    ...trade or business purchased, see Massari v. Salciccia, 102 Fla. 847, 136 So. 522, in which the case of Lee v. Clearwater Growers' Ass'n, 93 Fla. 214, 111 So. 722, was cited with approval. It would seem, therefore, that the enforceability of contracts of this nature is determined by the reas......
  • Janet Realty Corp. v. Hoffman's, Inc.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • December 23, 1943
    ...attempt is made to limit production, fix prices, or control commodities, are valid and enforceable. See Lee v. Clearwater Growers' Ass'n, 93 Fla. 214, 111 So. 722. Contracts entered into between parties, having as their objectives the removal of a rival competitor in a business, are not to ......
  • Rotemi Realty, Inc. v. Act Realty Co., Inc., No. SC04-210.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • September 13, 2005
    ...must be pleaded and proved at trial. See Robert & Co., 33 So.2d at 734; Busot, 338 So.2d at 1334 (citing Lee v. Clearwater Growers Ass'n, 93 Fla. 214, 111 So. 722 (1927)). In this case, the district court concluded that the agreement was not valid on its face. See Act Realty, 863 So.2d at 3......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
21 cases
  • Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Amos
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • April 4, 1932
    ...promulgated, and that it may be compared with cognate laws to determine its meaning and effect. Lee v. Clearwater Growers' Association, 93 Fla. 214, 111 So. 722; Amos v. Mathews, 99 Fla. 1, 65, 115, 126 So. 308; Jerome H. Sheip & Co. v. Amos, 100 Fla. 863, 130 So. 699; Gray v. Central Flori......
  • Love v. Miami Laundry Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 5, 1934
    ...trade or business purchased, see Massari v. Salciccia, 102 Fla. 847, 136 So. 522, in which the case of Lee v. Clearwater Growers' Ass'n, 93 Fla. 214, 111 So. 722, was cited with approval. It would seem, therefore, that the enforceability of contracts of this nature is determined by the reas......
  • Janet Realty Corp. v. Hoffman's, Inc.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • December 23, 1943
    ...attempt is made to limit production, fix prices, or control commodities, are valid and enforceable. See Lee v. Clearwater Growers' Ass'n, 93 Fla. 214, 111 So. 722. Contracts entered into between parties, having as their objectives the removal of a rival competitor in a business, are not to ......
  • Rotemi Realty, Inc. v. Act Realty Co., Inc., No. SC04-210.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • September 13, 2005
    ...must be pleaded and proved at trial. See Robert & Co., 33 So.2d at 734; Busot, 338 So.2d at 1334 (citing Lee v. Clearwater Growers Ass'n, 93 Fla. 214, 111 So. 722 (1927)). In this case, the district court concluded that the agreement was not valid on its face. See Act Realty, 863 So.2d at 3......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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