Southern Fruit Co. Inc v. Porter, No. 14765.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtFISHBURNE, Justice
Citation199 S.E. 537
Docket NumberNo. 14765.
Decision Date04 November 1938
PartiesSOUTHERN FRUIT CO., Inc., et al. v. PORTER et al.

199 S.E. 537

SOUTHERN FRUIT CO., Inc., et al.
v.
PORTER et al.

No. 14765.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Nov. 4, 1938.


[199 S.E. 538]

Original suit by the Southern Fruit Company, Inc., and others against F. B. Porter, representing a class too numerous to name of the various mayors of cities and towns in South Carolina, and others to enjoin the defendants from interfering with the business and property of the petitioners by the institution of criminal prosecutions against them, their agents or employees, under the terms of various ordinances of the towns and cities in South Carolina.

Injunction granted.

Charles W. McTeer, of Chester, for petitioners.

Williams & Stewart, of Lancaster, Tison & Miller, of Bennettsville, P. A. Murray, Jr., of Cheraw, and B. J. White and Spencer & Spencer, all of Rock Hill, for respondents.

FISHBURNE, Justice.

The six named petitioners are non-resident corporations, engaged in business as wholesalers of goods and merchandise, all having their principal places of business in North Carolina and Georgia. They filed their petition in the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, praying for a preliminary injunction enjoining the respondents from interfering with the business and property of petitioners, by the institution of criminal prosecutions against them, their agents or employees, under the terms of. the various ordinances of the towns and cities in South Carolina which are alleged to be invalid as to them. A temporary restraining order was issued, and the respondents were directed to show cause why a permanent injunction should not be granted. The defendants made return, alleging that the license ordinances under attack are valid, and praying that the petition be dismissed and the rule discharged.

The complaining corporations are engaged in interstate commerce. Their method of doing business is to have their respective salesmen solicit orders for goods and merchandise from their customers, who are retail merchants in various cities and towns in South Carolina. When obtained, these orders are forwarded to the place of business of petitioners; in many instances the petitioners' customers send orders direct by mail. Upon receipt of the orders the goods and merchandise are loaded upon motor trucks owned by the respective petitioners, and delivery is made from these trucks to the customers. Petitioners make no sale or delivery of goods from warehouses in South Carolina, and make no sales from the trucks.

[199 S.E. 539]

The towns and cities of Lancaster, Rock Hill, York, Clover, and Cheraw, and other cities and towns in this State too numerous to name, have enacted certain ordinances for the purpose of requiring the petitioners, and others similarly situated, to pay to the said cities and towns a license tax, variously designated as a tax "for the use and occupation of streets, " a "delivery license tax, " a "privilege tax, " an "occupational tax, " and a tax "for the use of streets."

The petitioners allege, among other things, that the license tax provided for in these ordinances is invalid and unlawful, in that it imposes a burden on interstate commerce engaged in by them, contrary to the Constitution of the United States, and not authorized by the laws of South Carolina.

It appears that several of the employees of the petitioners have been arrested when attempting to make delivery of goods and merchandise in the cities and towns of the State, for failure of petitioners to pay the license exacted, and that other arrests are threatened. It is alleged that the petitioners have no plain and adequate remedy at law, and that any attempt to obtain a remedy at law would involve a multiplicity of suits, and result in irreparable damage to the business of petitioners.

We shall first dispose, of the issue made by the respondents, that the petitioners should pay the license tax to the various cities and towns, under protest, and resort to legal actions to recover the amount so paid. It is contended that their failure to do this precludes equitable interference. This contention is without merit. The point was made and decided adversely in the recent case of Southern Liquor Distributors v. Daniel, 179 S.C. 219, 183 S.E. 765.

The petitioners contend, first, that the ordinances attacked are invalid and unenforceable as to them, under the police power, because they contain no provision for inspection or supervision of motor vehicles operating on the streets of the numerous...

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7 practice notes
  • Foster's Inc. v. Boise City, 6903
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • October 30, 1941
    ...of travelers generally on the roads." (3 McQuillin, Municipal Corp., sec. 981, pp. 194, 195; Southern Fruit Co. v. Porter, 188 S.C. 422, 199 S.E. 537, 540; City of Shreveport v. Breazeale, 191 La. 1088, 187 So. 33, 34; Fisher v. Cedar Rapids & M. C. Ry. Co., 177 Iowa 406, 157 N.W. 860, 864;......
  • Hospitality Ass'n of South Carolina, Inc. v. County of Charleston, No. 24346
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 21, 1994
    ...S.C. 289, 82 S.E.2d 191 (1954); Marshall v. Rose, 213 S.C. 428, 49 S.E.2d 720 (1948); Southern Fruit Co., Inc. v. Porter, 188 S.C. 422, 199 S.E. 537 (1938); Luther v. Wheeler, 73 S.C. 83, 52 S.E. 874 New Article VIII effectively abolished Dillon's Rule by mandating the following rule of con......
  • City of Columbia v. Putnam, No. 17970
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • October 4, 1962
    ...licenses within the limitations contained in the statutory grant of power. In the case of Southern Fruit Co. v. Porter, 188 S.C. 422, 199 S.E. 537, wherein a license ordinance, under different factual circumstances, was held invalid, a rule of law which I consider appliable to the instant c......
  • Owens v. Owens, No. 14050.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 1, 1940
    ...to the accomplishment of a primary function of all municipal governments." And in the case of Southern Fruit Co. v. Porter, 188 S.C. 422, 199 S.E. 537, 539, in referring to Section 7233 of the Code, it is stated: "This section which gives to the cities and towns of the State the authority t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Foster's Inc. v. Boise City, 6903
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • October 30, 1941
    ...of travelers generally on the roads." (3 McQuillin, Municipal Corp., sec. 981, pp. 194, 195; Southern Fruit Co. v. Porter, 188 S.C. 422, 199 S.E. 537, 540; City of Shreveport v. Breazeale, 191 La. 1088, 187 So. 33, 34; Fisher v. Cedar Rapids & M. C. Ry. Co., 177 Iowa 406, 157 N.W. 860, 864;......
  • Hospitality Ass'n of South Carolina, Inc. v. County of Charleston, No. 24346
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 21, 1994
    ...S.C. 289, 82 S.E.2d 191 (1954); Marshall v. Rose, 213 S.C. 428, 49 S.E.2d 720 (1948); Southern Fruit Co., Inc. v. Porter, 188 S.C. 422, 199 S.E. 537 (1938); Luther v. Wheeler, 73 S.C. 83, 52 S.E. 874 New Article VIII effectively abolished Dillon's Rule by mandating the following rule of con......
  • City of Columbia v. Putnam, No. 17970
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • October 4, 1962
    ...licenses within the limitations contained in the statutory grant of power. In the case of Southern Fruit Co. v. Porter, 188 S.C. 422, 199 S.E. 537, wherein a license ordinance, under different factual circumstances, was held invalid, a rule of law which I consider appliable to the instant c......
  • Owens v. Owens, No. 14050.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 1, 1940
    ...to the accomplishment of a primary function of all municipal governments." And in the case of Southern Fruit Co. v. Porter, 188 S.C. 422, 199 S.E. 537, 539, in referring to Section 7233 of the Code, it is stated: "This section which gives to the cities and towns of the State the authority t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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