Alfred L. Snapp & Son, Inc. v. Puerto Rico ex rel. Barez

PETITIONER: Alfred L. Snapp & Son, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Puerto Rico ex rel. Barez
LOCATION: Turner Turnpike

DOCKET NO.: 80-1305
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

CITATION: 458 US 592 (1982)
ARGUED: Apr 20, 1982
DECIDED: Jul 01, 1982

ADVOCATES:
Paul A. Lenzini - on behalf of the Respondent
Thomas J. Bacas - on behalf of the Petitioners

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Alfred L. Snapp & Son, Inc. v. Puerto Rico ex rel. Barez

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 20, 1982 in Alfred L. Snapp & Son, Inc. v. Puerto Rico ex rel. Barez

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in Alfred L. Snapp and Son against Puerto Rico.

Mr. Bacas, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Thomas J. Bacas:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court, the issue in this case is whether the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has standing as parens patriae to sue 32 individual apple growers from the Commonwealth of Virginia for allegedly breaching the employment contracts and allegedly violating the federal statutory and regulatory rights of a small number of Puerto Rican workers during the 1978 apple harvest.

I am going to get into these points in more detail later, but we think there are three major reasons why the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico lacks parens patriae standing in this case.

First, the injuries alleged did not affect the general population of Puerto Rico in a substantial way.

Secondly, we believe that Puerto Rico in affect is attempting to litigate the personal claims of a small group of its citizens.

Thirdly, we believe that the Puerto Rican workers allegedly aggrieved have adequate remedies and have clearly demonstrated their ability to litigate the issues themselves.

Could they have brought a class action here?

Thomas J. Bacas:

Have they brought a class action?

Not in this case, Your Honor, unless you count the action in Puerto Rico.

There have been a number of cases that have been brought.

Not all the cases involve all of the defendants in this particular case.

Could the individuals or respondents here have brought a class action on the same general allegations?

Thomas J. Bacas:

The individuals are not respondents in this case.

It is the Commonwealth--

But could they have brought an action?

Thomas J. Bacas:

--Could they have brought?

The employees, I am speaking of.

I misspoke myself when I said Respondents.

The employees.

Thomas J. Bacas:

Your Honor, there have been cases where they have brought purported class actions, and we have opposed those... the class certification in those cases.

We just do not believe that those cases satisfy the Rule 23 requirements for class action.

It is that simple.

For the very same reason--

But you have lost all those cases so far.

Thomas J. Bacas:

--No, sir, we have not lost or won those cases.

Okay.

Thomas J. Bacas:

They are all pending.

But they were all certified.

Thomas J. Bacas:

No, sir.