The following summaries of precedent-setting reparation decisions issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) are intended to help companies understand their rights and responsibilities under PACA. The key facts and core reasoning used to decide cases are presented.
TOPIC: TIMELINESS OF NOTICE
Whelchel Produce Company
P. W. Coppersmith & Company
15 A.D. 452, decided April 16, 1956
Whelchel Produce Company (Whelchel) sold 845 bushels of cabbage sprouts from Florida to P. W. Coppersmith & Company (Coppersmith) for $1,267.50. Upon arrival at the contract destination in Chicago, a sample of the sprouts was taken and found to be satisfactory; accordingly, no USDA inspection was called.
The railcar was then closed and not opened again until six days later, when Coppersmith discovered the cabbage was infested with aphids. A USDA inspection was called for and showed that approximately 25 percent of the load was damaged. Coppersmith then notified Whelchel of the breach and refused to pay for the cabbage sprouts.
In discussing the case, PACA explained that Coppersmith’s failure to notify Whelchel of the alleged breach until six days after arrival undermined any claim for damages it may otherwise have had. This notwithstanding, PACA also explained that the inspection certificate taken six days after arrival failed to prove the cabbage sprouts were in fact defective at the time of arrival. Accordingly, PACA held that the full invoice price was past due and owing to Whelchel.
These summaries are not issued by the USDA, nor the PACA Branch, and should not be mistaken for an official government statement or release.