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BROWN v. HECHT CO.

February 19, 1943

BROWN, Adm'r, Office of Price Administration,
v.
HECHT CO.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LETTS

The complaint recites that in the judgment of the Price Administrator the defendant has engaged in actions and practices which constitute a violation of Section 4(a) of the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942, Pub.L. 421, 77th Congress 2nd Session, C. 26, hereinafter called the Act, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix § 904(a) in that it has violated The General Maximum Price Regulation, as amended, hereinafter referred to as the Regulation, issued pursuant to Section 2(a) of the Act, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix § 902(a); and, therefore, pursuant to Section 205(a) of the Act, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix § 925(a), the Price Administrator brings this action to enforce Section 4(a) of said Act and the Regulation.

The defendant is and has at all times mentioned herein been engaged in the sale and delivery of commodities in the retail mercantile business within the District of Columbia.

 Pursuant to the provisions of Section 2(a) of the Act, the Price Administrator published in the Federal Register The General Maximum Price Regulation, effective May 11, 1942 (7 F.R. 3153).

 The General Maximum Price Regulation, insofar as the same is material here, provides in substance:

 (a) That on and after the effective date of the Regulation no person shall sell or deliver any commodity at a price higher than the maximum price permitted by the Regulation (Section 1499.1).

 (b) That the seller's maximum price for any commodity shall be the highest price charged by the seller in March, 1942, for the same or similar commodity (Section 1499.2).

 (c) That the seller's maximum price for any commodity which cannot be determined as aforementioned (b) shall be determined by dividing the maximum price of the commodity by the replacement cost of the commodity, the percentage so obtained to be multiplied by the cost to him of the commodity being priced, and within 10 days after determining such maximum price the seller shall report said price to the Office of Price Administration upon a form duly filled out (Section 1499.3).

 (d) Sellers of commodities subject to maximum prices shall preserve for examination all their existing records relating to the price which they charged for such commodities during March, 1942, and shall prepare on or before July 1, 1942, on the basis of all available information and records and thereafter keep for examination by any person a statement showing the highest price he charged during March, 1942, for those commodities sold and delivered or offered for sale or delivery during said month with an appropriate description or identification of each such commodity (Section 1499.11).

 (e) Every person selling commodities, the maximum prices of which are set by the regulation, shall keep records showing as precisely as possible the basis on which he determined the maximum prices for those commodities (Section 1499.12).

 (f) Every person offering to sell cost of living commodities at retail shall plainly mark in a manner visible to the purchaser the maximum price of such commodity and shall designate such price as the maximum or ceiling price (Section 1499.13).

 Plaintiff says that the defendant company has violated the provisions of the General Maximum Price Regulation in the following particulars, to-wit:

 (a) Defendant has failed, neglected and refused to use the standards and methods provided in Sections 1499.2 and 1499.3 of the Regulation to determine the maximum prices on commodities sold or delivered, or offered for sale or delivery, by it since May 18, 1942, which said maximum prices so determined were in excess of the amximum prices permitted by the Regulation.

 (b) Defendant posted as its maximum prices on cost-of-living commodities offered for sale at retail by it after May 18, 1942, prices in excess of the maximum prices ...


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