242 F.2d 702 (5th Cir. 1957), 16304, Fort Worth & D. Ry. Co. v. United States

Docket Nº:16304.
Citation:242 F.2d 702
Party Name:FORT WORTH AND DENVER RAILWAY COMPANY, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
Case Date:March 28, 1957
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 702

242 F.2d 702 (5th Cir. 1957)

FORT WORTH AND DENVER RAILWAY COMPANY, Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

No. 16304.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

March 28, 1957

Page 703

Thomas D. Magoffin, Barwise, Magoffin & Carrigan, Fort Worth, Tex., for appellant.

Clayton Bray, Asst. U.S. Atty., Heard L. Floore, U.S. Atty., Fort Worth, Tex., for appellee.

Before HUTCHESON, Chief Judge, and CAMERON and JONES, Circuit Judges.

JONES, Circuit Judge.

The Commodity Credit Corporation, an agency of the United States, made shipments under Government bills of lading of cottonseed products to various consignees in Texas over the appellant railway company. These shipments were made under the Emergency Drought Relief Program of 1953 pursuant to 12 U.S.C.A. § 1148a-2(d). The commodities shipped were to be sold as livestock feed to farmers and ranchers at prices which were about one-half of the market value at the various points of delivery. Freight rates on such shipments were, by a Joint Quotation of the rail lines serving the drought area, subject to a reduction of fifty per cent. of the applicable tariff rates. Shortages occurred in nine shipments handled by the appellant. These shortages were of goods having a fair market value at destination of $1, 101.31, and a sales price at destination of $597, 82. Of the nine shipments three were interstate and six were of shipments having both origin and destination in Texas. The appellant concedes liability for the amount of the sales price at destination. The United States claimed it was entitled to be paid the fair market value at destination of the shortages and brought suit in the District Court to vindicate its position. On stipulated facts the Court entered judgment for the United States. United States v. Fort Worth & Denver Railway Co., D.C.N.D.Tex.1956, 141 F.Supp. 381. The railway has appealed.

The Congress has expressly provided that property may be transported free or at reduced rates for the United States. 49 U.S.C.A. § 22. This enactment is the authority for the quoted rate applied to the shipments here considered. The measure of damages for loss of or damage to goods in interstate transportation is declared by the Cummins Amendment to be the full value, with a proviso that where the carrier has been authorized to establish a rate dependent upon value declared or agreed upon as the released value, the declaration shall be given the effect of limiting liability and recovery to an amount not exceeding the value so declared or released. 49 U.S.C.A. § 20(11).

The appellant insists that the damages as to the shortages in the six intrastate shipments should have been measured by the law of Texas rather than under the Federal statute applicable to interstate shipments. The Government thinks the appellant is...

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