Scripto, Inc. v. Carson

PETITIONER: Scripto, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Carson
LOCATION: Approximately half-way between Santa Marta, Colombia and Miami. Florida (by water)

DOCKET NO.: 80
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 362 US 207 (1960)
ARGUED: Feb 24, 1960
DECIDED: Mar 21, 1960

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Scripto, Inc. v. Carson

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 24, 1960 in Scripto, Inc. v. Carson

Earl Warren:

Number 80, Scripto, Incorporated, etcetera, Appellant, versus Dale Carson, as Sheriff of Duval County, Florida, et al.

Mr. Haley, you may proceed.

George B. Haley, Jr.:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court of the State of Florida which so interpreted the Florida Sales and Use Tax Act as to require Scripto Incorporated, the appellant here, to act as a dealer and collect the use tax of that State on sales of its Adgif products, which is its advertising specialty line, to consumers in the State of Florida.

Having so held, the Supreme Court of Florida, then held that the statute as thus construed and applied did not violate either the Commerce Clause or the Due Process Clause of the Constitution of the United States.

Scripto Incorporated is a Georgia corporation which has its principal office and place of business in the City of Atlanta, where its manufacturing plant is located also.

Scripto has not qualified to do business in the State of Florida.

It has in the State of Florida, no office, warehouse, distributing room or other place of business.

It owns no property, no inventory, no stock of goods and no bank account in the State of Florida.

Adgif Company is not a separate corporation, but is a division of Scripto Incorporated and Adgif likewise has its office in Atlanta.

Adgif devotes its activity to the sale and distribution of mechanical writing instruments with advertising material imprinted thereon.

There are no employees of Scripto and no activity of Scripto in the State of Florida which has any relation, whatever, to the distribution or sale of the Adgif line of merchandise.

The sole activity in Florida which generates orders resulting in Adgif sales is the activity of independent commission brokers who represent not only the Adgif division of Scripto, but other manufacturers as well.

William O. Douglas:

Is Adgif a -- it's not a separate corporation?

George B. Haley, Jr.:

It is not a separate corporation.

William O. Douglas:

It's a division or department of Scripto.

George B. Haley, Jr.:

That's right, sir.

Those advertising specialty brokers have a brief form of written contract with Adgif Company and that contract is -- is in the record in this case at page 19 of the record.

By the terms of that contract, Adgif Company exercises no control whatever over these advertising specialty brokers.

The contract merely provides for the rate of commission to be paid, the brokers, the conditions under which the commission is to be paid, is -- does not require that they devote any particular amount of their time to the solicitation of orders to Adgif sales or that they not represent others as well as Adgif.

It provides expressly that the intention of the parties is that the broker shall not represent or hold himself out as a representative of Adgif Company, that he has no authority to make any collections or deliveries or to incur any debts for Adgif, that his sole authority is to solicit orders subject always to the right of Scripto, Adgif Company in Atlanta, to either accept or reject those orders when they are received.

The contract expressly states that no relationship of employer and employee is intended that the salesman is an independent contractor.

When this advertising specialty broker receives an order and forwards -- forwards it to Adgif in Atlanta, if Adgif, in its discretion, sees fit to accept that order, the order is consummated by delivery of the merchandise to an interstate carrier in Atlanta and delivery is completed at that time, therefore, be Atlanta that has expressly provided in the order forms which is the next exhibit following that contract.

That title shall pass in the City of Atlanta when property is delivered to the carrier.

Shipment is made directly to the customer in Florida.

The advertising specialty broker has nothing to do with any deliveries.

Payment for the merchandise is made directly to Adgif in Atlanta.

The broker is not permitted and does not make collections.

Now, Scripto in addition to its Adgif sales, sells its regular line of merchandise through wholesalers throughout the country for resale.

That is the line of merchandise which you see at the -- at the corner drugstore.