New Mexico Public Service Co. v. Engel, No. 2933.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBRATTON, HUXMAN, and MURRAH, Circuit
Citation145 F.2d 636
PartiesNEW MEXICO PUBLIC SERVICE CO. v. ENGEL.
Decision Date05 December 1944
Docket NumberNo. 2933.

145 F.2d 636 (1944)

NEW MEXICO PUBLIC SERVICE CO.
v.
ENGEL.

No. 2933.

Circuit Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

November 3, 1944.

Rehearing Denied December 5, 1944.


145 F.2d 637

A. K. Montgomery, of Santa Fe, N. M., for appellant.

Melvin D. Rueckhaus, of Albuquerque, N. M. (Arthur Livingston and Louis Rubenstein, both of Santa Fe, N. M., and Harry D. Robins, of Albuquerque, N. M., on the brief), for appellee.

Before BRATTON, HUXMAN, and MURRAH, Circuit Judges.

MURRAH, Circuit Judge.

George Engel brought this suit against his employer, New Mexico Public Service Company, to recover overtime compensation, liquidated damages, and attorney's fee, as provided by Sections 6, 7 and 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 52 Stat. 1060-1069, 29 U.S.C.A. §§ 201-209. The employer denied liability, contending that the employee was not within the coverage of the Act because not "engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce," and in the alternative that it was a retail or service establishment within the meaning of Section 13(a) (2) of the Act, and therefore exempted from its coverage. Based upon stipulated facts, the trial court held that the employee was "engaged in commerce" but not in the production of goods for commerce within the meaning of the Act; that the employer was not a retail or service establishment, and entered judgment in the total sum of $1,949.10, from which the employer has appealed.

The parties to the proceedings present the case here on the narrow question whether the employee is engaged in commerce, and if so whether the employer is a retail establishment within the exemption of the Act. However, the Wage and Hour Administrator has filed a brief amicus curiae in which it is argued that the employee is not only "engaged in commerce," as the trial court held, but that he is also "engaged in the production of goods for commerce" within the meaning of the Act.

145 F.2d 638

At all times material to this controversy, the employer was engaged in the manufacture and distribution of electricity at Socorro, New Mexico, and the employee, as a plant engineer, operated the machinery which generated the electricity, all of which was transmitted over its distribution lines to a meter where it was measured, sold and delivered wholly within the State of New Mexico to the employer's 675 customers. Neither the employer nor the employee thereafter exercised any control over the electricity, and it was never transmitted across state lines for sale or use, however, eight of the employer's customers were engaged both in intrastate and interstate commerce, and they used the electricity which they purchased in the operation of their respective businesses.

The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company purchased and consumed .44% of the total electrical energy manufactured, and .67% of the total sold by the employer to light its buildings and surrounding property at Socorro; to operate the crossing signal where Highway 85 crosses the Magdalena branch of its railroad, and to light the semaphore which is used to signal trains moving in interstate commerce. The Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Company purchased and consumed .64% of the total electrical energy manufactured, and .85% of the total sold by the employer to light its buildings; to charge the storage battery which operates the switchboard used in long-distance telephone calls, and to operate the ringing machines and long line equipment of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company located at the Socorro office. The Socorro Municipal Airport, although not used as a commercial field, but as an emergency and auxiliary field, purchased and consumed approximately 1.20% of the total electricity manufactured and sold to light the communications' office, maintained by the C. A. A.; to light the field and beacon light which pointed the way for interstate planes; to operate radio sets for teletype machines, which by means of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company's facilities may be connected with other airports throughout the United States. The Post Office consumed energy for lighting its building and operating its cancelling machine, but the energy is purchased by the owner of the building and furnished under the terms of the lease on the building. The Railway Express Company, Western Union, and Santa Fe Trails Transportation, a bus company, all occupy space in the railroad station, and the Railway Company furnishes them electricity to light their offices or places of business. A fruit and produce company occupies space in a packing shed at the depot, from which it ships produce in interstate commerce, and consumes electrical energy in lighting its place of business. There is no practical way in which to determine what portion of the electrical energy consumed by the respective customers is devoted to intrastate as distinguished from interstate activities, but the total amount purchased and consumed by these companies is approximately 4% of the amount generated and sold.

The phrase "engaged in commerce," as used in the Fair Labor Standards Act to denote coverage, has come to have a well defined meaning under the adjudicated cases. It is now established beyond controversy that to be engaged in commerce within the meaning of that phrase, an employee must be actually engaged in the movement of commerce, or the services he performs must be so closely related thereto as to be for all practical purposes an essential part thereof. McLeod v. Threlkeld, 319 U.S. 491, 63 S.Ct. 1248, 87 L.Ed. 1538; Rucker v. First National Bank, 10 Cir., 138 F.2d 699, and Clyde v. Broderick, 10 Cir., 144 F.2d 348. And in that connection closeness depends upon the essentiality and indispensability of the particular work or services performed to the actual movement of commerce. Overstreet v. North Shore Corp., 318 U.S. 125, 63 S.Ct. 494, 87 L.Ed. 656; Pederson v. Del., Lack. & West. R. R., 229 U.S. 146, 33 S.Ct. 648, 57 L.Ed. 1125, Ann.Cas.1914C, 153; United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100, 61 S.Ct. 451, 85 L.Ed. 609, 132 A.L.R. 1430. If a cessation of the services of the employee causes an interruption or interference with the free movement of commerce, it is ordinarily regarded as an essential and indispensable part thereof. See So. Pac. Co. v. Industrial Accident Commission, 251 U.S. 259, 40 S.Ct. 130, 64 L.Ed. 258, 10 A.L. R. 1181.

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  • Mitchell v. Telephone Answering Service, Inc., Civ. No. 331-57.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • October 22, 1959
    ...the employees were, engaged in the operation of a retail or service establishment; New Mexico Public Service Company v. Engel, 10 Cir., 145 F.2d 636, holding a plant engineer operating machinery generating electricity to be engaged in commerce within the Act, where the employer was engaged ......
  • Keen v. Mid-Continent Petroleum Corporation, No. 131.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • November 21, 1945
    ...in the commerce * * * by any particular shipper or producer." In the case of New Mexico Public Service Co. v. Engel, 10 Cir., 1944, 145 F.2d 636, 640, in a Fair Labor Standards Act case in which only 4% of the employer's activities were of an interstate character the Court stated: "It is tr......
  • Montalvo v. Tower Life Building, No. 27501.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • May 15, 1970
    ...Cir. 1945, 148 F.2d 890, 892, cert. denied, 326 U.S. 736, 66 S.Ct. 46, 90 L.Ed. 439; New Mexico Public Service Co. v. Engel, 10 Cir. 1944, 145 F.2d 636, 640. The language adopted by this court in Grimes v. Castleberry, 5 Cir. 1967, 381 F.2d 758, 762, is particularly "If an employee regularl......
  • Walling v. Consumers Co., No. 8567.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • May 23, 1945
    ...run of men and as it has been "construed in the light of its Congressional history," cf. New Mexico Public Service Co. v. Engel, 10 Cir., 145 F.2d 636, 641. Congress regarded as falling within "retail establishment," merchants selling to consumers to satisfy their individual needs, such as ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • Mitchell v. Telephone Answering Service, Inc., Civ. No. 331-57.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • October 22, 1959
    ...the employees were, engaged in the operation of a retail or service establishment; New Mexico Public Service Company v. Engel, 10 Cir., 145 F.2d 636, holding a plant engineer operating machinery generating electricity to be engaged in commerce within the Act, where the employer was engaged ......
  • Keen v. Mid-Continent Petroleum Corporation, No. 131.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • November 21, 1945
    ...in the commerce * * * by any particular shipper or producer." In the case of New Mexico Public Service Co. v. Engel, 10 Cir., 1944, 145 F.2d 636, 640, in a Fair Labor Standards Act case in which only 4% of the employer's activities were of an interstate character the Court stated: "It is tr......
  • Montalvo v. Tower Life Building, No. 27501.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • May 15, 1970
    ...Cir. 1945, 148 F.2d 890, 892, cert. denied, 326 U.S. 736, 66 S.Ct. 46, 90 L.Ed. 439; New Mexico Public Service Co. v. Engel, 10 Cir. 1944, 145 F.2d 636, 640. The language adopted by this court in Grimes v. Castleberry, 5 Cir. 1967, 381 F.2d 758, 762, is particularly "If an employee regularl......
  • Walling v. Consumers Co., No. 8567.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • May 23, 1945
    ...run of men and as it has been "construed in the light of its Congressional history," cf. New Mexico Public Service Co. v. Engel, 10 Cir., 145 F.2d 636, 641. Congress regarded as falling within "retail establishment," merchants selling to consumers to satisfy their individual needs, such as ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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