Mitchell v. Myrtle Grove Packing Co.

PETITIONER: James P. Mitchell, Secretary of Labor
RESPONDENT: Myrtle Grove Packing Co.
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: 44
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1955-1956)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

ARGUED: Nov 10, 1955
DECIDED: Nov 14, 1955

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Mitchell v. Myrtle Grove Packing Co.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 10, 1955 in Mitchell v. Myrtle Grove Packing Co.

Earl Warren:

Number 44, James P. Mitchell, Secretary of Labor versus Myrtle Grove Packing Company.

Ms. Margolin.

Bessie Margolin:

May it please the Court.

The question in this case is one of the applicability of an exemption to employees engaged in picking or selling shrimps and shucking oysters as preparatory too and immediately before they are placed in cans for hermetical sealing.

The question is whether these employees are completely exempt from the Act of minimum wage and overtime exemption aware that they are now subject to the minimum wage provisions of the Act and exempt only from the overtime requirement under an amendment enacted in 1949.

The two Sections of the Act of the Fair Labor Standards Act which are involved are Section 13 (a) (5) and 13 (b) (4) which are printed in our brief.

13 (a) (5) was the Section in the Act that's originally enacted which granted an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime provision requirements of the Act for various phases of seafood processing and production, including propagating, processing, marketing, freezing, canning, curing, storing or distributing of seafood.

In 1949, this Section was amended so that the word canning was deleted from the exempt list of processes and a new provision was enacted, 13 (b) (4), providing simply an overtime exemption -- exemption from the overtime requirements only for any employee employed in the canning of any kind of fish.

At the same time, 13 (a) (5) was further amended by inserting as to the word processing to make it absolutely clear that canning was being deleted, the parenthetical phrase other than canning.

The question here is whether the employee to a --

William O. Douglas:

(Voice Overlap) go overtime than minimum pages of section.

Bessie Margolin:

The new Section 1949 is only an overtime exemption.

William O. Douglas:

The process?

Bessie Margolin:

For canning.

William O. Douglas:

Canning.

Bessie Margolin:

Canning.

William O. Douglas:

The processing.

Bessie Margolin:

Processing other than canning is still exempt from both minimum wage --

William O. Douglas:

Or both.

Bessie Margolin:

-- and overtime.

William O. Douglas:

Any exempt only from the overtime.

Bessie Margolin:

From the overtime requirement.

The question is --

Earl Warren:

And the question here is -- the question here is whether the shucking of the oysters and the picking of the shrimps is processing or canning.

Bessie Margolin:

Whether it's processing other than canning or other than canning.

Earl Warren:

Yes.

Bessie Margolin:

The question comes up because the Fifth and the Fourth Circuits were in direct conflict on that question.

This case comes up from the Fifth Circuit and the Fifth Circuit adopted respondent's contention that the selling and picking of shrimp and shucking of oysters, although admittedly in this case for all practical purpose was exclusively purposes of canning and was an integrated step immediately preceding and closely and continuously integrated profound in the same building with the other phases, other operations of the canning, although in a separate room from the canning room or the packing room in the same building and immediately preceding the whole process from the time the oysters are dumped on the table and that the shrimps for picking -- shucking.

The whole process from that time through the hermetical sealing consumes just about a -- from one hour to two hours time.

It's followed immediately.