Vance v. W. A. Vandercook Company (170 U.S. 438)

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

170 U.S. 438

Vance  v.  W. A. Vandercook Company

The bill below was filed by the appellee, a corporation created by the laws of California, and a citizen of that state. It alleged, in substance, that the corporation was the owner of large vineyards in California, from which it produced well-known qualities of pure wines and brandies and other liquors; that through its traveling agent, a citizen of the state of Virginia, it took orders from certain residents of the state of South Carolina residing in the city of Charleston, to deliver to each of them in Charleston certain original packages of wines and brandies, the products of the vineyards of the complainant; that, in consequence of said orders, 73 original packages for the customers aforesaid were shipped in one car, by a contract for continuous interstate carriage from San Francisco to Charleston; that under a law of Sout Carolina, known as the 'Dispensary Law,' certain officers of the state of South Carolina had seized the packages of liquor above described, and prevented the delivery thereof, and openly avowed their intention to continue to levy upon any packages of liquor shipped into the state of South Carolina in violation of the law of the state. The bill moreover alleged another shipment of the same character and a like seizure. The bill then averred as follows:

'And your orator further shows that your orator intends in the course of its said business, as aforesaid, further and in addition to said shipments so ordered by its said customers, in advance as aforesaid, to ship also from San Francisco, California, to its agent in the state of South Carolina, and to store and warehouse in the state of South Carolina, and to sell in the state of South Carolina, in the original unbroken packages as imported, as aforesaid, to the residents and citizens of the state of South Carolina, its wines and other liquors, products of its vineyards, as aforesaid, for the lawful use and consumption of the said residents and citizens of the state of South Carolina in the due and lawful exercise of your orator's right of importation of such wines, &c., products of its, vineyards, into the state of South Carolina, in lawful intercourse, trade, and commerce with the citizens and residents of the state of South Carolina, under the constitution and laws of the United States, all of which shipments, as aforesaid, the defendants and other persons claiming to act as state constables and officials threaten to seize, take, and carry away, detain, convert, and sell, to the manifest wrong, damage, and injury of your orator and its trade and business, as aforesaid.

'And your orator further shows that by and under the terms, principle, policy, and operation of the said dispensary law of the state of South Carolina, as aforesaid, approved March 6, 1896, and amended March 5, 1897, all wines, beers, ales, alcoholic, spirituous, and other intoxicating liquors are subjects of lawful manufacture, barter, sale, export, and import in the state of South Carolina, and have been, are being, and will continue to be, lawfully used and consumed as a beverage by the citizens and residents of the state of South Carolina.'

Averring the avowed purpose of the state officers to continue to seize all liquors thereafter shipped by the complainant into the state to residents therein or for sale in original packages, the bill proceeded to charge that the state law upon whih the officers relied was void, because repugnant to the constitution of the United States; that to prevent the continuing wrong which would necessarily arise from the conduct of the state officers, and to avoid a multiplicity of suits, a writ of injunction was necessary, restraining the state officers from interfering with complainant in its shipment of its products to residents of the state on their orders, and also enjoining the state officers from interfering with the complainant in shipping its products from the state of California into the state of South Carolina to its agents there, for the purpose of selling the same in original packages, the provisions of the South Carolina law to the contrary notwithstanding. This mere outline of the averments of the bill suffices to convey an understanding of the controversy which the record presents. A restraining order was granted as prayed for against the designated state officers, and, after due pleadings and proceedings, this restraining order was perpetuated, and a final decree was entered in favor of the complainant in accordance with the prayer of the bill. 80 Fed. 786.

Wm. A. Barber, for appellants.

J. P. Kennedy Bryan, for appellee.

Mr. Justice WHITE, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).