142 F. 669 (3rd Cir. 1906), 59, Baltimore & O. R. Co. v. Doyle

Docket Nº:59.
Citation:142 F. 669
Party Name:BALTIMORE & O.R. CO. v. DOYLE.
Case Date:January 15, 1906
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Page 669

142 F. 669 (3rd Cir. 1906)




No. 59.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.

January 15, 1906

John S. Wendt, for plaintiff in error.

E. W. Smith, for defendant in error.

Before DALLAS and GRAY, Circuit Judges, and BRADFORD, District Judge.

BRADFORD, District Judge.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company be this writ of error seeks to secure the reversal of a judgment recovered against it in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Western District of Pennsylvania, by William Doyle for damages for the alleged destruction, through the negligence of the railroad company, of household goods, including supplies, shipped by his wife, on his account and as his agent, from the city of New York to Glenwood, Pennsylvania. Judgment on verdict was entered December 30, 1903, in the sum of $2,047.68, after a question reserved by the court had been decided adversely to the railroad company. It appears from the record and is not disputed that the shipment was made October 30, 1902, in 104 packages of the aggregate weight of 4,650 pounds; that the freight to Glenwood, amounting to $20.93, was prepaid;

Page 670

and that the bill of lading when delivered by the railroad company to Mrs. Doyle contained the words 'Released to a valuation of $5 per 100 lbs. ' stamped upon its face in red ink beneath and next to the words and figures 'Household Goods 4,650.' At a valuation of $5 per 100 pounds the total value of the shipment would have been $232.50. The sum of $2,047.68 represented the actual loss or damage to the shipment as found by the jury. The third paragraph of the 'uniform bill of lading conditions' printed on the back of the bill of lading contains, among others, the following regulation:

'The amount of any loss or damage for which any carrier becomes liable shall be computed at the value of the property at the place and time of shipment under this bill of lading, unless a lower value has been agreed upon or is determined by the classification upon which the rate is based, in either of which events such lower value shall be the maximum price to govern such computation.'

It appears from the evidence and is not disputed that the value of the goods shipped, as determined by the official classification of the railroad company upon which the rate or charge for carriage was based, was $5 per 100 pounds; that such rate or charge was 45 cents per 100 pounds, amounting to $20.93 for the total shipment of 4,650 pounds; and that this sum was paid by Mrs. Doyle as freight to the proper agent of the railroad company immediately before receiving from him the stamped bill of lading. If Mrs. Doyle in shipping the goods agreed either expressly or impliedly with the railroad company that they should be carried upon the basis of a limitation of liability, in case of loss or damage, to $5 per 100 pounds, the plaintiff was bound by such agreement, and could not legitimately recover, aside from interest and costs, more than $232.50. If, however, she did not expressly or impliedly so agree, or agree to any other limitation with respect to value, the plaintiff was not limited in his recovery to that sum, or any other sum based upon weight of shipment, but was entitled to recover the full amount of actual loss or damage. There is uncontradicted evidence to the effect that Mrs. Doyle had no actual knowledge or notice at the time of shipping the goods, or before the next following day, of the regulation on the back of the bill of lading limiting valuation in case of loss or damage, or of the memorandum stamped in red ink on its face-- 'Released to a valuation of $5 per 100 lbs.'; that she did not at any time in fact agree to such or any restricted or limited valuation of the goods; that she had no intention or idea that they should or were to be accepted for carriage or carried by the railroad company on such a basis; that neither the bill of...

To continue reading