Davis v. Cornwell, No. 297

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBRANDEIS
Citation44 S.Ct. 410,264 U.S. 560,68 L.Ed. 848
Decision Date21 April 1924
Docket NumberNo. 297
PartiesDAVIS, Agent, v. CORNWELL

264 U.S. 560
44 S.Ct. 410
68 L.Ed. 848
DAVIS, Agent,

v.

CORNWELL.

No. 297.
Argued Feb. 26, 1924.
Decided April 21, 1924.

Mr. I. Parker Veazey, Jr., of Great Falls, Mont., for petitioner.

Mr. George E. Hurd, of Great Falls, Mont., for respondent.

Mr. Justice BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the Court.

While the railroads were under federal control, Cornwell ordered of a station agent empty cars to be ready

Page 561

October 2, 1918, for loading with cattle to be transported in interstate commerce as common carrier. This action against Davis, the Agent of the President designated under Transportation Act of 1290 (Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1923, § 10071 1/4 et seq.), was brought in a state court of Montana to recover damages for failure to supply the cars. The plaintiff sued on an express contract to furnish them on the day named. It was not shown, or contended, that the published tariffs governing the contemplated shipment provided in terms for such a contract. The defendant asked for a directed verdict; the request was refused; and the jury was instructed that, if the promise was made, the defendant was liable for its breach, even if the carrier was unable to furnish the cars. A verdict was rendered for the plaintiff; the judgment entered thereon was affirmed by the highest court of the state; and the case is here on writ of certiorari under section 237 of the Judicial Code as amended (Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1923, § 1214). 262 U. S. 740, 43 Sup. Ct. 700, 67 L. Ed. 1209. Whether, under the Interstate Commerce Act as amended, the express promise to furnish cars was valid is the only question requiring decision.

The transportation service to be performed was that of common carrier under published tariffs, not a special service under a special contract, as in Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway Co. v. Maucher, 248 U. S. 359, 39 Sup. Ct. 108, 63 L. Ed. 294. The agent's promise that the cars would be available on the day named was introduced to establish an absolute obligation to supply the cars, not as evidence that the shipper had given due notice of the time when the cars would be needed, or as evidence that the carrier had not made reasonable efforts to supply the cars. The obligation of the common carrier implied in the tariff is to use diligence to provide, upon reasonable notice, cars for loading at the time desired. A contract to furnish cars on a day certain imposes a greater obligation than that implied in the tariff. For, under the contract, proof...

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77 practice notes
  • May Department Stores Co. v. Union E.L. & P. Co., No. 34288.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 30 d3 Junho d3 1937
    ...L.I.M. & S. Ry. Co. v. West, 159 S.W. 142; Roberts v. Ry. Co., 185 S.W. 69; Adams Exp. Co. v. Burr Oak, 206 S.W. 173; Davis v. Cornwell, 264 U.S. 560, 44 Sup. Ct. 410; Dollinger v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 282 S.W. 1047; Richey & Gilbert v. Ry. Co., 204 N.W. 27; Saitta & Jones v. Railroad Co., 179......
  • Ting v. At&T, No. 02-15416.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 11 d2 Fevereiro d2 2003
    ...222, as well as several cases arising under the Interstate Commerce Act, on which the 1934 Act was modeled. See, e.g., Davis v. Cornwell, 264 U.S. 560, 44 S.Ct. 410, 68 L.Ed. 848 (1924); W. Union Tel. Co. v. Esteve Bros. & Co., 256 U.S. 566, 41 S.Ct. 584, 65 L.Ed. 1094 (1921); Chicago & Alt......
  • Central Office Telephone, Inc. v. American Tel. and Tel. Co., Nos. 94-36116
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 26 d3 Fevereiro d3 1997
    ...or preference not open to all and not provided for in the published tariffs." Id. 163-66, 32 S.Ct. at 650. See also Davis v. Cornwell, 264 U.S. 560, 44 S.Ct. 410, 68 L.Ed. 848 (1924), Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. v. Robinson, 233 U.S. 173, 34 S.Ct. 556, 58 L.Ed. 901 The majority attempts to dist......
  • United States v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, Civ. A. No. 1-299.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • 3 d5 Abril d5 1959
    ...& Nashville R. Co. v. Warren County Strawberry Growers' Association, 1925, 206 Ky. 482, 267 S.W. 551, 552; Davis v. Cornwell, 1924, 264 U.S. 560, 44 S.Ct. 410, 68 L.Ed. 848; United States v. Michigan Portland Cement Co., 270 U.S. 521, 522, 524, 46 S. Ct. 395, 70 L.Ed. 713; Baltimore and Ohi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
77 cases
  • May Department Stores Co. v. Union E.L. & P. Co., No. 34288.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 30 d3 Junho d3 1937
    ...L.I.M. & S. Ry. Co. v. West, 159 S.W. 142; Roberts v. Ry. Co., 185 S.W. 69; Adams Exp. Co. v. Burr Oak, 206 S.W. 173; Davis v. Cornwell, 264 U.S. 560, 44 Sup. Ct. 410; Dollinger v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 282 S.W. 1047; Richey & Gilbert v. Ry. Co., 204 N.W. 27; Saitta & Jones v. Railroad Co., 179......
  • Ting v. At&T, No. 02-15416.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 11 d2 Fevereiro d2 2003
    ...222, as well as several cases arising under the Interstate Commerce Act, on which the 1934 Act was modeled. See, e.g., Davis v. Cornwell, 264 U.S. 560, 44 S.Ct. 410, 68 L.Ed. 848 (1924); W. Union Tel. Co. v. Esteve Bros. & Co., 256 U.S. 566, 41 S.Ct. 584, 65 L.Ed. 1094 (1921); Chicago & Alt......
  • Central Office Telephone, Inc. v. American Tel. and Tel. Co., Nos. 94-36116
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 26 d3 Fevereiro d3 1997
    ...or preference not open to all and not provided for in the published tariffs." Id. 163-66, 32 S.Ct. at 650. See also Davis v. Cornwell, 264 U.S. 560, 44 S.Ct. 410, 68 L.Ed. 848 (1924), Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. v. Robinson, 233 U.S. 173, 34 S.Ct. 556, 58 L.Ed. 901 The majority attempts to dist......
  • United States v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, Civ. A. No. 1-299.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • 3 d5 Abril d5 1959
    ...& Nashville R. Co. v. Warren County Strawberry Growers' Association, 1925, 206 Ky. 482, 267 S.W. 551, 552; Davis v. Cornwell, 1924, 264 U.S. 560, 44 S.Ct. 410, 68 L.Ed. 848; United States v. Michigan Portland Cement Co., 270 U.S. 521, 522, 524, 46 S. Ct. 395, 70 L.Ed. 713; Baltimore and Ohi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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