174 U.S. 580 (1899), 11, Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company v. McCann

Docket Nº:No. 11
Citation:174 U.S. 580, 19 S.Ct. 755, 43 L.Ed. 1093
Party Name:Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company v. McCann
Case Date:May 22, 1899
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 580

174 U.S. 580 (1899)

19 S.Ct. 755, 43 L.Ed. 1093

Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company

v.

McCann

No. 11

United States Supreme Court

May 22, 1899

Argued October 11, 1898

ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT

OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI

Syllabus

Section 944 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri of 1889, provided that,

Whenever any property is received by a common carrier to be transferred from one place to another within or without this state, or when a railroad or other transportation company issues receipts or bills of lading in this state, the common carrier, railroad or transportation company issuing such bill of lading shall be liable for any loss, damage or injury to such property caused by its negligence or the negligence of any other common carrier, railroad, or transportation company to which such property may be delivered, or over whose line such property may pass, and the common carrier, railroad, or transportation company issuing any such receipt or bill of lading shall be entitled to recover, in a proper action, the amount of any loss, damage or injury it may be required to pay to the owner of such property from the common carrier, railroad, or transportation company, through whose negligence the loss, damage or injury may be sustained.

In commenting on this statute, the Supreme Court of Missouri said:

The provision of the statute is that "wherever property is received by a common carrier to be transferred from one place to another." This language does not restrict, but rather recognizes, the right of the carrier to limit its contract of carriage to the end of its own route, and there deliver the property to the connecting carrier. There can be no doubt, then, that under the statute, as well as under the English law, the carrier can, by contract, limit its duty and obligation to carriage over its own route.

Held that the statute, as thus interpreted, could not be held to be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States.

The statement of the case will be found in the opinion of the Court.

WHITE, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

A statute of the State of Missouri, found in the Revised Statutes of that State, 1889, c. 26, reads as follows:

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SEC. 944. Whenever any property is received by a common carrier to be transferred from one place to another within or without this state, or when a railroad or other transportation company issues receipts or bills of lading in this state, the common carrier, railroad or transportation company issuing such bill of lading shall be liable for any loss, damage, or injury to such property caused by its negligence or the negligence of any other common carrier, railroad, or transportation company to which such property may be delivered or over whose line such property may pass, and the common carrier, railroad, or transportation company issuing any such receipt or bill of lading shall be entitled to recover, in a proper action, the amount of any loss, damage or injury it may be required to pay to the owner of such property from the common carrier, railroad, or transportation company through whose negligence the loss, damage or injury may be sustained.

While this statute was in force, the defendants in error shipped from Stoutsville, in the State of Missouri, on the line of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway, to Chicago, Illinois, which was beyond the line of that road, ninety-nine head of cattle. At the time of the shipment, a bill of lading was delivered to the shippers. The portions of the contract pertinent to the questions here arising for consideration are as follows:

This agreement, made between George A. Eddy and H. C. Cross, receivers of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway, parties of the first part, and M. B. Smizer, party of the second part, witnesseth that whereas the receivers of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway transport the livestock as per above rules and regulations, and which are hereby made a part of this contract, by mutual agreement between the parties hereto, now therefore, for the consideration and mutual covenants and conditions herein contained, said party of the first part is to transport for the second party the livestock described below, and the parties in charge thereof, as hereinafter provided, namely, six cars, said to contain 95 head of cattle, m. or l.o.r., from Stoutsville

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Station, Missouri, to Chicago, Illinois, station, consigned to Brown Bros. & Smith, care Union Stock Yards at Chicago, Illinois, at the through rate of 17 1/2 c. per hundred pounds from Stoutsville, Missouri, to Chicago, Illinois, subject to minimum weights applying to cars of various lengths as per tariff rules in effect on the day of shipment, the same being a special rate, lower than the regular rates, or at a rate mutually agreed upon between the parties, for and in consideration of which said second party hereby covenants and agrees as follows:

1st. That he hereby releases the party of the first part from the liability of common carrier in the transportation of said stock, and agrees that such liability shall be that of a mere forwarder or private carrier for hire. He also hereby agrees to waive release, and does hereby release, said first party from any and all liability for and on account of any delay in shipping said stock, after the delivery thereof to its agent, and from any delay in receiving same after being tendered to its agent.

* * * *

4th. That the said second party, for the consideration aforesaid, hereby assumes and releases said first party from risk of injury or loss which may be sustained by reason of any delay in the transportation of said stock caused by any mob, strike, threatened or actual violence to person or property from any source, failure of machinery or cars, injury to track or yards, storms, floods, escape or robbery of any stock, overloading cars, fright of animals, or crowding one upon another, or any and all other causes except the negligence of said first party, and said negligence not to be assumed, but to be proved by the said party of the second part.

* * * *

13th. And it is further stipulated and agreed between the parties hereto that in case the livestock mentioned herein is to be transported over the road or roads of any other railroad company, the said party of the first part shall be released from liability of every kind after said livestock shall have left its road, and the party of the second part

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hereby so expressly stipulates and agrees, the understanding of both parties hereto being that the [19 S.Ct. 757] party of the first part shall not be held or deemed liable for anything beyond the line of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway excepting to protect the through rate of freight named herein.

When this bill of lading was executed, an ancillary agreement was indorsed thereon, as follows:

We, the undersigned persons in charge of the livestock mentioned in the within contract, in consideration of the free pass furnished us by the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway, Geo. A. Eddy and H. C. Cross, receivers, and of the other covenants and agreements contained in said contract, including rules and regulations at the head thereof and those printed on the back thereof, all of which for the consideration aforesaid are hereby accepted by us and made a part of this contract, and of the terms and conditions of which we hereby agree to observe and be severally bound by, do hereby expressly agree that during the time we are in charge of said stock, and while we are on our return passage, we shall be deemed employees of said receivers of...

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