Lenroot v. Kemp, No. 630.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtMIZE
Citation59 F. Supp. 605
Decision Date06 January 1945
Docket NumberNo. 630.
PartiesLENROOT, Chief of Children's Bureau, United States Department of Labor, v. KEMP et al.

59 F. Supp. 605

LENROOT, Chief of Children's Bureau, United States Department of Labor,
KEMP et al.

No. 630.

District Court, S. D. Mississippi, Jackson Division.

January 6, 1945.

59 F. Supp. 606

Amzy Steed and Harry Campbell, Jr., both of Birmingham, Ala., for plaintiff.

Henley & Woodliff, of Hazlehurst, Miss., for defendants.

MIZE, District Judge.

This cause having come on for trial on August 22, 1944, and the Court having considered the testimony adduced at the trial and the briefs filed by the parties, hereby makes and enters its findings of fact and conclusions of law, as follows:

Findings of Fact

I. The plaintiff, Katharine F. Lenroot, is the Chief of the Children's Bureau, United States Department of Labor. The defendants, Louis Kemp, Paul Kemp, Ford Pitts, and George Marx, are residents of Hazlehurst, Copiah County, Mississippi, within the jurisdiction of this Court.

II. Defendants, as co-partners, doing business under the name and style of Kemp & Pitts, were engaged during the vegetable packing and shipping seasons of 1941 and 1943, which extended in the case of tomatoes through the month of June, in the operation of a vegetable packing shed in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, handling principally tomatoes and cabbage.

The shed is located on the west side of and adjacent to the tracks of the Illinois Central Railroad, and a spur track of this railroad runs alongside of the shed. Occupied entirely by the defendants during the vegetable packing and shipping season, the shed is a two-story frame structure approximately 150 feet long and 30 feet wide.

III. Most of the vegetables handled by defendants were obtained from farms in the general vicinity of the packing shed. The four defendants together had approximately 62 acres of land devoted to the cultivation of tomatoes, which were later packed in their shed; but the total amount of their own tomatoes packed and shipped by the defendants comprised only about 12,500 lugs, which constituted only about 12% of the approximately 150 carloads of tomatoes shipped during each of the 1941 and 1943 seasons, a carload containing approximately 675 lugs of tomatoes, weighing 30 lbs. each. The tomatoes drawn from defendants' farms were commingled with those obtained from other sources upon their delivery to defendants' establishment.

In addition, approximately 15% of the tomatoes shipped by the defendants were graded, sorted and packed by farmers prior to sale and delivery to the defendants for shipment. These tomatoes, too, were commingled by defendants with tomatoes procured

59 F. Supp. 607
from other sources and, notwithstanding the fact that the grading and packing operations had been performed by the farmers, defendants' employees performed certain operations on such tomatoes after their receipt in the packing shed, such as labeling the lugs, loading the lugs in the freight cars and "stripping" the lugs in the freight cars

The remaining amount of tomatoes shipped by the defendants, 73% of the total pack, consisted of tomatoes which were obtained from farms other than their own and which were sorted, graded, prepared and packed in their establishment.

IV. Briefly, after the tomatoes are unloaded at the shed, employees of the defendants handle them according to the following operations:

As the tomatoes are brought to the shed, they are unloaded from the farmers' containers called "field carriers" and placed on the floor of the shed. Defendants' employees then place the tomatoes in large bins about 8 feet long, 4 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Other employees then take the tomatoes by hand and place them on a moving conveyor which is mechanically propelled and which both carries the tomatoes and revolves them. As they pass along and revolve in this conveyor, each of four or five employees inspects them for bruises, cuts, disfigurations, wormholes, blisters or other imperfections or defects. The employees remove by hand and discard the tomatoes which are defective.

The tomatoes which are found to be sound and whole are then carried by the conveyor into what is known as a "Tri-Pak" grading machine which is operated by an electric motor. This machine dumps them first into a washing bin where they are washed by a fine spray of water. The machine carries them next into a waxing bin where they are covered with a thin coat of wax designed to serve as a preservative. The tomatoes are then carried by the machine over a conveyor belt perforated with holes which correspond with the three standard grades, commonly known, sold and purchased as "small", "small to medium", and "medium". The "small" size tomatoes fall through the belt on to a conveyor belt which carries them to and dumps them into large bins. The "small to medium" size tomatoes fall through the belt on a different conveyor belt which carries them to and dumps them into other large bins; and the "medium" size tomatoes fall through the belt on to a different conveyor belt which carries them to and dumps them into other large bins. Each of these operations is performed on the first floor of the establishment. The wooden crates or lugs, the containers in which the tomatoes are packed, are constructed on the second floor of the shed. The defendants purchase shooks of wooden materials for the sides, bottoms and tops of the containers and "unitized" wooden pieces for the ends of the containers which are in uniform and specified sizes and ready to be assembled. The...

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