United States v. Woerth

Decision Date06 May 1955
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 877.
Citation130 F. Supp. 930
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Petitioner, v. Leslie W. WOERTH, Respondent.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Iowa

F. E. Van Alstine, U. S. Dist. Atty., Sioux City, Iowa, for petitioner.

William A. Shuminsky, Sioux City, Iowa, for respondent.

Harold LeVander and Roger C. Miller, South St. Paul, Minn., for the National Association of Order Buyers and Dealers, amicus curiae.

GRAVEN, District Judge.

The petitioner seeks enforcement of a subpoena duces tecum against the respondent under the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921, 7 U.S.C.A. § 181 et seq. Section 202 of the Act 7 U.S.C.A. defines the term "stockyard" as used therein as a "place, establishment, or facility commonly known as stockyards, conducted or operated for compensation or profit as a public market * * * in which live cattle, sheep, swine, horses, mules, or goats are received, held, or kept for sale or shipment in commerce." When, under Section 203 of the Act, the Secretary of Agriculture has determined that a particular stockyard comes within the terms of the definition he posts notices to that effect in such stockyard. 7 U.S. C.A. § 203. A stockyard in which such notice has been posted is known as a "posted" stockyard. A stockyard in which such notice has not been posted is known as an "unposted" stockyard. Section 203 of the Act also provides that no person may carry on the business of a market agency or dealer at a posted stockyard unless he has registered with the Secretary of Agriculture. Under Section 201 of the Act one selling or buying livestock in commerce on a commission basis at a "posted" stockyard is known as a marketing agency. Under the same Section a dealer is one, not a marketing agency, who is engaged in the business of buying or selling livestock in commerce at a "posted" stockyard either on his own account or as the employee or agent of the vendor or purchaser. Section 183 of the Act provides as follows:

"For the purpose of this chapter (but not in anywise limiting the definition in section 182 of this title) a transaction in respect to any article shall be considered to be in commerce if such article is part of that current of commerce usual in the livestock and meat-packing industries, whereby livestock, meats, meat food products, livestock products, dairy products, poultry, poultry products, or eggs, are sent from one State with the expectation that they will end their transit, after purchase, in another, including, in addition to cases within the above general description, all cases where purchase or sale is either for shipment to another State, or for slaughter of livestock within the State and the shipment outside the State of the products resulting from such slaughter. Articles normally in such current of commerce shall not be considered out of such current through resort being had to any means or device intended to remove transactions in respect thereto from the provisions of this chapter. For the purpose of this section the word `State' includes Territory, the District of Columbia, possession of the United States, and foreign nation."

Section 222 of the Act provides as follows:

"For the efficient execution of the provisions of this chapter, and in order to provide information for the use of Congress, the provisions (including penalties) of sections 46 and 48-50 of Title 15, are made applicable to the jurisdiction, powers, and duties of the Secretary in enforcing the provisions of this chapter and to any person subject to the provisions of this chapter, whether or not a corporation. The Secretary, in person or by such agents as he may designate, may prosecute any inquiry necessary to his duties under this chapter in any part of the United States."

Section 49 of Title 15 United States Code Annotated, referred to in Section 222 of the Act, provides, in part:

"* * * the commission, or its duly authorized agent or agents, shall at all reasonable times have access to, for the purpose of examination, and the right to copy any documentary evidence of any corporation being investigated or proceeded against; and the commission shall have power to require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of all such documentary evidence relating to any matter under investigation. * * *
"Such attendance of witnesses and the production of such documentary evidence, may be required from any place in the United States, at any designated place of hearing. And in case of disobedience to a subpoena the commission may invoke the aid of any court of the United States in requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of documentary evidence."

The Secretary of Agriculture promulgated certain regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act. One of those regulations appears as Regulation 201.94, Code of Federal Regulations. That Regulation provides as follows:

"Each packer, stockyard owner, registrant, and licensee shall give to the Secretary or his duly authorized representatives in writing or otherwise, and under oath or affirmation if requested by such representatives, any information concerning the business of the packer, stockyard owner, registrant, or licensee which may be required in order to carry out the provisions of the act and the regulations in this part within such reasonable time as may be specified in the request for such information."

Section 192 of the Packers and Stockyards Act enumerates a number of trade practices which are unlawful under the Act. Section 210 of that Act provides, in part, as follows:

"(a) Any person complaining of anything done or omitted to be done by any stockyard owner, market agency, or dealer (hereinafter in this section referred to as the `defendant') in violation of the provisions of sections 205-207, or 208 of this title, or of an order of the Secretary made under sections 201-203, 205-217a of this title, may, at any time within ninety days after the cause of action accrues, apply to the Secretary by petition which shall briefly state the facts, whereupon the complaint thus made shall be forwarded by the Secretary to the defendant, who shall be called upon to satisfy the complaint, or to answer it in writing, within a reasonable time to be specified by the Secretary. If the defendant within the time specified makes reparation for the injury alleged to be done he shall be relieved of liability to the complainant only for the particular violation thus complained of. If the defendant does not satisfy the complaint within the time specified, or there appears to be any reasonable ground for investigating the complaint, it shall be the duty of the Secretary to investigate the matters complained of in such manner and by such means as he deems proper.
"(b) The Secretary, at the request of the livestock commissioner, board of agriculture, or other agency of a State or Territory, having jurisdiction over stockyards in such State or Territory, shall investigate any complaint forwarded by such agency in like manner and with the same authority and powers as in the case of a complaint made under subdivision (a) of this section.
"(c) The Secretary may at any time institute an inquiry on his own motion, in any case and as to any matter or thing concerning which a complaint is authorized to be made to or before the Secretary, by any provision of sections 201-203 and 205-217a of this title, or concerning which any question may arise under any of the provisions of said sections, or relating to the enforcement of any of the provisions of said sections. The Secretary shall have the same power and authority to proceed with any inquiry instituted upon his own motion as though he had been appealed to by petition, including the power to make and enforce any order or orders in the case or relating to the matter or thing concerning which the inquiry is had, except orders for the payment of money."

The Sioux City Stockyards is a "posted" stockyard under the Packers and Stockyards Act. The respondent is engaged in buying and selling cattle on his own behalf at that stockyard. He is registered as a dealer with the Secretary of Agriculture under the provisions of the Act. John Harvey Company is a marketing agency at the Sioux City Stockyards. It is registered as such with the Secretary of Agriculture under the provisions of the Act. It maintains an office at 106 Live Stock Exchange Building at the Sioux City Stockyards. The transactions of the respondent at the Sioux City Stockyards are cleared through it. The books of the respondent relating to his cattle transactions at the Sioux City Stockyards are kept at the office of the John Harvey Company. The respondent owns and operates a farm a short distance from Sioux City. In January, 1951, the respondent and one Paul Fleming formed a partnership known as the Woerth Cattle Company. The partnership was dissolved in October or November, 1952. While the partnership was in existence it operated a stockyard at Clarence, Iowa, about 275 miles east of Sioux City. Since the dissolution of the partnership, the respondent has operated the stockyard at that place under the trade name of Woerth Cattle Company. In the partnership agreement and in the reports made, the principal place of business of the Woerth Cattle Company is given as 106 Live Stock Exchange Building, which, as noted, is at the Sioux City Stockyards. The respondent ships to the stockyard at Clarence, Iowa, cattle purchased by him at various places, including cattle purchased by him at the Sioux City Stockyards. The respondent keeps and maintains at the office of the John Harvey Company a set of records which he contends contains a record of his activities as a registered "dealer" under the Act. The petitioner refers to those records as the "regular account." The respondent keeps and maintains at the office of the John Harvey Company another set of records which he contends relates to his activities at the...

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    ...Commission, 200 F.2d 317, 321 (9th Cir. 1952); Detweiler Bros. v. Walling, 157 F.2d 841 (9th Cir. 1946); United States v. Woerth, 130 F.Supp. 930, 937-939 (N.D.Iowa 1956). The Federal Communications Commission possesses a broad power of investigation and subpoena, and the fact that the resp......
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    ...therefor is apparent. * * * Appellee has failed either to rebut or overcome this presumption." 153 F.2d at 34 In United States v. Woerth, 130 F. Supp. 930, 942 (N.D.Iowa 1955) aff. 231 F.2d 822 (8 Cir. 1956) the Court "Another requirement for an enforceable subpoena is that the information ......
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