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North American Cold Storage Co. v. City of Chicago

United States Supreme Court
211 U.S. 306 (1908)


Facts

North American Cold Storage Company (Cold Storage) (plaintiff) stored food products for its customers in cold-storage warehouses until the customers retrieved their products for resale to the public. Cold Storage received a shipment of poultry from a customer. Cold Storage believed that the poultry was safe for human consumption, and that the poultry could be kept safely in cold storage for three months. However, Chicago (defendant) city officials deemed the poultry to be unsafe in violation of a city ordinance and immediately ordered Cold Storage to surrender the poultry. Cold Storage refused to comply with the city's order. Pending Cold Storage’s compliance with the order, the city prevented Cold Storage from doing business. Cold Storage claimed that the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment entitled Cold Storage to a hearing before the city seized the poultry. However, the city ordinance provided no opportunity for such a hearing. Cold Storage sued the city for violating Cold Storage’s constitutional rights. A circuit court dismissed the suit on jurisdictional grounds. Cold Storage appealed directly to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Peckham, J.)

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