Mitchell v. Budd


DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1955-1956)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

ARGUED: Feb 29, 1956 / Mar 01, 1956
DECIDED: Mar 26, 1956

Facts of the case


Media for Mitchell v. Budd

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 01, 1956 in Mitchell v. Budd

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 29, 1956 in Mitchell v. Budd

Earl Warren:

Number 278 James P. Mitchell, Secretary of Labor, versus Joseph T. Budd Jr., and Florence W. Budd, Co-Partners.

Ms. Margolin.

Bessie Margolin:

May it please the Court.

The -- this case which is really two cases consolidated was instituted by the Secretary of Labor to enjoin the three respondents from violating the minimum wage and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the suits were brought against just two of these respondents, King Edward and Budd companies and the May company intervened on the ground that the same issues in fact and law are similar issues of fact and law were involved.

Our three plaintiffs operate tobacco-bulking plant in Quincy, Florida.

The cases present several issues relating to the very complex exemptions in a Fair Labor Standards Act for employees engaged in farming and practices incidental to farming and to certain agricultural operations and one of the sections, which is not raised here, a third one relates to certain processing operations.

The three -- the three sections with which the cases is primarily concerned are printed in the separate appendix of the Government and starting on page one.

And I think I should briefly point out the differences in those sections at the background to the facts here.

The agriculture exemption with which this Court has some familiarity, it was concerned with that in the Waialua case last term, is a complete wage hour and child labor, minimum wage, overtime and child labor exemption for farming and this Court described their practices which are really incident to farming.

The Section 13 (a) (10) exemption is also related to operations that are -- but which are performed on agricultural or horticultural commodities and it is also from the minimum wage and overtime provisions not the child labor however.

But it is restricted to the operations -- operations carried on within the area of production as the defined by the Administrator.

This Court has recognized that Section 13 (a) (6) is related to the agriculture exemptions as the two were designed to meet to equalize the situation between the agriculture exemption, their farming activity and operations which -- which might be close to the farming.

Now, it does -- Section 13 (a) (10) does include some processing operations but not the word processing which we think is significant.

It doesn't include processing generally, but it does specify certain things which are processing operations.

Section (c) which is the other exemption in 7 (c) which is the other exemption in the Act which has something to do with operations on agriculture on agriculture commodity, Section (c) -- 7 (c) is just from the overtime provisions of the Act.

That is not the minimum wage.

William O. Douglas:

What --

Bessie Margolin:

And that Section is on --

William O. Douglas:

7 (c)?

Bessie Margolin:

7 (c) is on page -- starts on page 1 of their separate appendix.

William O. Douglas:

This is (Inaudible) exemption.

Bessie Margolin:

This is an exemption.

These are all three exemptions which has some relation to agriculture or agricultural operations.

But 7 (c) is -- is quite different from the agriculture exemptions which is 3 (f), the definition, quite different from that in Section 13 (a) (10).

Section 7 (c) has -- is just from the overtime as I state and it is full of the word “processing.”

We think that's quite significant and I'll come back to it.

The other two sections have nowhere used the word “processing.”

Section 7 (c) is just full of the word.

And Section 7 (c) so far as agricultural and horticultural of commodities are concerned also limits the exemption to the area of production as defined by the Administrator.

Now, the two other exemptions, the ones that were commented on by this Court in the Waialua case, their purpose is to exempt things that are essentially farming or practices incident to farming.