281 U.S. 57 (1930), 75, Illinois Central R. Co. v. Crail

Docket Nº:No. 75
Citation:281 U.S. 57, 50 S.Ct. 180, 74 L.Ed. 699
Party Name:Illinois Central R. Co. v. Crail
Case Date:February 24, 1930
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 57

281 U.S. 57 (1930)

50 S.Ct. 180, 74 L.Ed. 699

Illinois Central R. Co.



No. 75

United States Supreme Court

Feb. 24, 1930

Argued January 10, 1930




1. Under the Cummins Amendment and the common law of compensatory damages, the amount which a coal dealer is entitled to recover from a rail carrier for failure to make delivery of part of a carload shipment of coal is the full actual loss at point of destination. P. 63.

2. Where the shortage was capable of replacement, and was, in fact, replaced in the course of the dealer's business from purchases made in carload lots at wholesale market price without added expense, the recovery is measured by the wholesale price, including any profit over cost at the mine plus freight, and not by the retail market price, which includes costs of delivery to retail customers

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not incurred by the dealer and a retail profit not earned by him by any contract of resale. Pp. 63-65.

31 F.2d 111 reversed.

Certiorari, 279 U.S. 833, to review a judgment of the circuit court of appeals which affirmed a Judgment of the district court, 21 F.2d 831, against the Railroad Company in an action for nondelivery of coal. See also 2 F.2d 287; 13 id. 459.

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STONE, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.

In this case, certiorari was granted May 27, 1929 to review a ruling of the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upon the measure of damages recoverable in a suit brought under the Cummins Amendment of March 4, 1915, 38 Stat. 1197, as amended 41 Stat. 494, 49 U.S.C. § 20(11), against a rail carrier for failure to deliver a part of an interstate shipment of coal.

Respondent, plaintiff below, a coal dealer in Minneapolis, purchased, while in transit, a carload of coal weighing at shipment 88,700 pounds. On delivery at destination, the respondent's industrial siding, there was a shortage of 5,500 pounds. At the time of arrival, respondent had not resold any [50 S.Ct. 181] of the coal. It was intended to be, and was, added to his stock of coal for resale, but the shortage did not interfere with the maintenance of his usual stock. He lost no sales by reason of it, and purchased no coal to replace the shortage, except in carload lots. In the course of his business, respondent could and did, both before and after the present shipment, purchase coal of like quality in carload lots of 60,000 pounds or more, delivered at his siding at $5.50 per ton, plus freight. The market price in Minneapolis for like coal sold at retail in less than carload lots was $13 per ton including $3.30 freight.

The case was twice tried. On the first trial, the district court gave judgment for the wholesale value of the coal not delivered. 2 F.2d 287. The court of appeals reversed the judgment, holding that it should have been for the retail value of the coal. 13 F.2d 459. Upon

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retrial, the district court gave judgment accordingly, 21 F.2d 831, which was affirmed below, 31 F.2d 111.

By the Cummins Amendment, the holder of a bill of lading issued for an interstate rail shipment is entitled to recover for failure to make delivery of any part of the shipment without legal excuse, "the full actual loss, damage, or injury to such property" at point of destination. Chicago, M. & St.P. Ry. Co. v. McCaull-Dinsmore Co., 253 U.S. 97.

It is not denied that a recovery measured by the wholesale market price of the coal would fully compensate the respondent, or that the retail price, taken as the measure of the recovery allowed below, includes costs of delivery to retail consumers which respondent did not incur, and a retail profit which he had not earned by any contract of resale. But respondent contends, as was held below, that the established measure of damage for nondelivery of a shipment of merchandise is the sum required to replace the exact amount...

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