PEOPLE v. WESTERN FRUIT GROWERS INC

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District Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 3, California.

PEOPLE v. WESTERN FRUIT GROWERS, INC.

WESTERN FRUIT GROWERS, INC., v. PARKER ET AL.

Civ. 13276.

Decided: September 19, 1942

Earl Warren, Atty. Gen., Walter L. Bowers, Deputy Atty. Gen., and Ivan G. McDaniel and George C. Lyon, both of Los Angeles, for appellants. G. V. Weikert, of Los Angeles, for respondents.

This case, like American Fruit Growers, Inc., v. Parker, 129 P.2d 46, this day decided, requires a consideration of “The California Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1935”, Stats.1935, pp. 1032 and 1468; Deering's Gen.Laws, 1935 Supp., Act 146, and the act purporting to amend it into “The California Agricultural Products Marketing Act of 1937”, Stats.1937, p. 2501; Deering's Gen.Laws, 1937, Act 146. The same license regulating the handling of oranges and grapefruit in intrastate commerce which was considered in that case is before us here. Plaintiff, claiming to act under the statutory authority contained in section 8 of the act of 1935 and a similar provision in section 14 of the act as amended in 1937, brought this action to enjoin violations of the license above mentioned by the defendant, and applied for a preliminary injunction. The defendant filed a cross–complaint, seeking an injunction against the Director of Agriculture and others acting under him, to restrain them from enforcing the same license against it, and applied for a preliminary injunction. Both of these applications for preliminary injunctions came on for hearing together. The application of plaintiff was denied and that of defendant was granted. Plaintiff appeals from the order denying its application and cross–defendants appeal from the order granting defendant's application.

These applications were heard in the lower court with that involved in the appeal in American Fruit Growers, Inc., v. Parker, supra, and the appeals were argued together here. The questions presented in that case also arise here, and as to them our decision in that case rules this.

Plaintiff and the cross-defendants contend, further, that defendant here is estopped to dispute the validity of the license, relying upon the statement in Gregory v. Hecke, 1925, 73 Cal.App. 268, 284, 238 P. 787, 794, that “One who elects to accept the benefits of a statute is estopped from denying its validity.” But the party at whom this statement was aimed was attempting to prevent the revocation of a license issued to him under a statute by contending that the statute was invalid. The court did not suggest, nor do we think it is the law, that if such party's license had been revoked he could not defend a prosecution for acting without one on the ground of invalidity of the statute. The license here was not an individual license issued to defendant upon its application, but was a general license imposed by the Director of Agriculture upon all persons engaged in the industry described in it, without any specific application from any of them, and was, in effect, an administrative regulation of the business made under authority of the statute. The license required persons desiring to ship the fruits described to apply for and obtain quotas stating the amount of fruit they were permitted to ship, and set up an elaborate scheme for determining these quotas. It appears that over a considerable period of time, before this action was begun, defendant applied for and received such quotas and it is these acts which, its adversaries claim, estop it from objecting to the validity of the license. But in so acting defendant was confronted with section 7 of the 1935 act which made it a misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum fine of $50 or a minimum imprisonment of 10 days, or by both, to violate any provision of a state license, and declared, “Each day any of the violations above referred to shall continue shall constitute a separate offense.” The same penalty provision appeared in the 1937 act, § 14. Under the statutory scheme defendant became subject to the license and therefore liable for its violation, upon its promulgation, without any affirmative act on its part. Compliance with the license in the face of such penalties and under such circumstances does not work an estoppel to dispute its validity.

The orders appealed from are affirmed.

SHAW, Justice pro tem.

SCHAUER, P. J., and SHINN, J., concur.