United States v. Jorgensen

144 F.3d 550 (1998)

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United States v. Jorgensen

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
144 F.3d 550 (1998)

  • Written by Sharon Feldman, JD

Facts

Gregory, Martin, and Deborah Jorgensen (the Jorgensens) (defendants) owned and operated Dakota Lean, Inc. (Dakota) (defendant), which sold meat products produced from cattle raised on the Jorgensens’ ranch and neighboring lands. In the brochure accompanying Dakota’s products, Dakota claimed that its cattle were genetically selected, strict quality control was maintained, the cattle were raised on a wholesome diet without growth hormones, and the meat contained no substitutes or additives and had lower fat and cholesterol content. When the Jorgensens could no longer fill orders from their own cattle and those of neighbors, they mixed commercial-beef trim with Dakota meat and sold the product using the same brochures without telling customers the product contained commercial beef. The Jorgensens and Dakota were charged with fraudulently selling misbranded meat in violation of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA). The evidence established that the blended product was sent to customers in several states accompanied by the brochure describing Dakota meat and that each of the Jorgensens approved of, was involved in, or was aware of the blending and the use of the brochures with the blended product, and each represented the blended product as described in the brochures. At trial, the court instructed the jury that conviction required that a defendant had a specific intent to defraud and had caused misbranding to occur. The court refused to give the Jorgensens’ requested instruction that a person is not responsible for acts performed by other people on behalf of a corporation even if that person is an officer, employee, or other agent of the corporation. The Jorgensens were convicted and argued on appeal that the district court erred in refusing to give the requested instruction.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hansen, J.)

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