United Seeds, Inc. v. Hoyt

Citation96 N.W.2d 404,168 Neb. 527
Decision Date08 May 1959
Docket NumberNo. 34542,34542
PartiesUNITED SEEDS, INC., a corporation, Appellee, v. Ed HOYT, Director of the Department of Agriculture and Inspection of the State of Nebraska, et al., Appellants, Pearle F. Finigan substituted in lieu of Ed Hoyt, as Director, etc., Appellant.
CourtNebraska Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

1. A contractual limitation of warranty relating to quality is not unlawful and notice of limitation of warranty to the purchaser at the time of sale creates a valid contractual arrangement.

2. Where a right, duty, or liability would arise under a contract to sell or a

sale by implication of law, it may be negatived or varied by express agreement or by the course of dealing between the parties, or by custom if the custom be such as to bind both parties to the contract or sale.

3. Public policy is that principle of the law which holds that no person can lawfully do that which has a tendency to be injurious to the public or against the public good. It is a principle under which the freedom of contract or private dealing is restricted by law for the good of the community.

4. Public policy forbids the enforcement of an illegal or immoral contract, but it equally insists that those contracts which are lawful and contravene none of its rules shall be enforced, and that they shall not be set at naught or be held invalid on a suspicion of illegality.

5. The Department of Agriculture and Inspection is without power under The Nebraska Seed Law to impose or enforce a prohibition against limitation of warranty of agricultural seeds.

Clarence S. Beck, Atty. Gen., Homer L. Kyle, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellants.

Marti, O'Gara, Dalton & Sheldon, Lincoln, Fitzgerald, Hamer, Brown & Leahy, Omaha, for appellee.


YEAGER, Justice.

This action, as presented to this court, is one by United Seeds, Inc., a corporation, plaintiff and appellee, against Pearle F. Finigan, Director of the Department of Agriculture and Inspection of the State of Nebraska, the Department of Agriculture and Inspection of the State of Nebraska, and Russell I. Nash, Chief of the Weed and Seed Division of the Department of Agriculture and Inspection of the State of Nebraska, defendants and appellants, to have adjudged and decreed that the defendants lack power, authority, or jurisdiction to forbid, prohibit, or interfere with the use of language similar to the following: 'United Seeds, Inc., warrants to the extent of the purchase price that seeds or bulbs sold are as described on the container within recognized tolerances. Seller gives no other or further warranty, expressed or implied,' in the labeling of agricultural seed sold, exposed, or offered for sale within the State of Nebraska, and that on final hearing a permanent injunction be granted enjoining the defendants and each of them from the issuance of stop-sale orders, from instituting prosecutions, and from any other actions against the plaintiff based solely upon or arising out of the fact that the plaintiff sells, exposes, or offers for sale seed in containers to which there is affixed tags or labels containing language similar to that which has been set forth herein.

The case was tried to the court at the conclusion of which a decree was rendered granting the relief prayed by the plaintiff. A motion for new trial was filed which motion was overruled. From the decree and the order overruling the motion for new trial the defendants have appealed. They contend that the court erred in granting the relief prayed.

The question of whether or not the decision is erroneous depends upon a proper interpretation and application of what is now section 81-2,137.01, R.R.S.1943. This section is a part of what has been denominated 'The Nebraska Seed Law.' The first paragraph of the section is as follows: 'Each container of agricultural or vegetable seed, which is sold, offered for sale or exposed for sale within this state for sowing purposes, shall bear thereon or have attached thereto in a conspicuous place a printed label or tag in the English language giving the following information: * * *.'

The plaintiff is a corporation engaged in the business of selling, offering for sale, and exposing for sale within the State of Nebraska agricultural seed within the meaning of this statutory provision.

Following the quoted paragraph is the following: '(1) For agricultural seed: * * *.' Following this are subparagraphs from (a) to (i) inclusive, setting forth in specific detail what the label shall contain. All of these except the one denoted as (i) relate to the qualities required of seed and description of these qualities which must appear on the label or tag. Nothing further is required herein as to these since the defendants have agreed that the plaintiff, in the conduct of its business, placed on its labels and tags all that was required by these provisions, and the plaintiff concedes the right of defendants to make these exactions. It appears well to state here also that the statute contains no other exactions which are referable to the quality of agricultural seed sold, offered, or exposed for sale.

Subparagraph (i) is as follows: '(i) The name and address of the person who labeled said seed or who sells, offers or exposes said seed for sale within this state. No tag or label shall be affixed...

To continue reading

Request your trial
5 cases
  • Ray Tucker & Sons, Inc. v. GTE Directories Sales Corp.
    • United States
    • Nebraska Supreme Court
    • December 5, 1997
    ..." Id. at 63, 525 N.W.2d at 30 (quoting OB-GYN v. Blue Cross, 219 Neb. 199, 361 N.W.2d 550 (1985)). Accord United Seeds, Inc. v. Hoyt, 168 Neb. 527, 96 N.W.2d 404 (1959). Applying this definition in New Light Co., supra, we held that the "right of contract may be restricted for the public go......
  • Cornhusker Christian Children's Home, Inc. v. Department of Social Services of State of Neb.
    • United States
    • Nebraska Supreme Court
    • December 11, 1987
    ...DSS from promulgating a regulation which prohibits physical punishment in licensed child-caring facilities. In United Seeds, Inc. v. Hoyt, 168 Neb. 527, 96 N.W.2d 404 (1959), this court was confronted with a problem in determining the State's public policy in connection with a statute relat......
  • New Light Co., Inc. v. Wells Fargo Alarm Services, Div. of Baker Protective Services, Inc.
    • United States
    • Nebraska Supreme Court
    • December 23, 1994
    ...for the good of the community.' ..." OB-GYN v. Blue Cross, 219 Neb. 199, 203, 361 N.W.2d 550, 553 (1985). Accord United Seeds, Inc. v. Hoyt, 168 Neb. 527, 96 N.W.2d 404 (1959). We have stated that " ' " '[g]ross negligence means great and excessive negligence; that is, negligence in a very ......
  • Estate of Hannan, In re
    • United States
    • Nebraska Court of Appeals
    • March 8, 1994
    ...dealings is restricted by law for the good of the community." Black's Law Dictionary (3d Ed.), p. 1374. United Seeds, Inc. v. Hoyt, 168 Neb. 527, 531, 96 N.W.2d 404, 407 (1959). In this case, Nebraska's public policy, which was discussed earlier in this opinion, provides that adopted childr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT