Southeastern Express Co v. Pastime Amusement Co

Decision Date09 November 1936
Docket NumberNo. 46,46
Citation57 S.Ct. 73,81 L.Ed. 20,299 U.S. 28
PartiesSOUTHEASTERN EXPRESS CO. v. PASTIME AMUSEMENT CO
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Mr. Harry L. Greene, of Atlanta, Ga., for petitioner.

PER CURIAM.

Respondent sued to recover damages for failure to deliver a moving picture film in time to be exhibited as advertised. The jury rendered a verdict for $1,500 and the judgment thereon was affirmed by the Supreme Court of South Carolina. 186 S.E. 283. The court overruled petitioner's contention based on the federal act known as the Carmack Amendment. 49 U.S.C. § 20(11), 49 U.S.C.A. § 20(11). It appeared that the shipment was interstate, from Jacksonville, Florida, to Charleston, South Carolina. The applicable tariff filed by the carrier provided:

'In consideration of the rate charged for carrying said property, which is dependent upon the value thereof and is based upon an agreed valuation of not exceeding fifty dollars for any shipment of 100 pounds or less, and not exceeding fifty cents per pound, actual weight, for any shipment in excess of 100 pounds, unless a greater value is declared at the time of shipment, the shipper agrees that the company shall not be liable in any event for more than fifty dollars for any shipment of 100 pounds or less, or for more than fifty cents per pound, actual weight, for any shipment weighing more than 100 pounds unless a greater value is stated herein. Unless a greater value is declared and stated herein the shipper agrees that the value of the shipment is as last above set out and that the liability of the company shall in no event exceed such value.'

There was evidence that the value declared was $50 and that the rate was fixed accordingly. The trial court ruled that as the suit was for damages for the interruption of plaintiff's business caused by the delay alleged to be due to negligence, the limitation of liability did not apply. The Supreme Court of the State sustained that view.

We hold that this was error. The federal statute controls. Adams Express Co. v. Croninger, 226 U.S. 491, 505, 506, 33 S.Ct. 148, 57 L.Ed. 314, 44 L.R.A. (N.S.) 257; Kansas City Southern R. Co. v. Carl, 227 U.S. 639, 650-652, 33 S.Ct. 391, 57 L.Ed. 683; Georgia, Florida & Alabama R. Co. v. Blish Milling Co., 241 U.S. 190, 196, 197, 36 S.Ct. 541, 60 L.Ed. 948. The words of the statute 'are comprehensive enough to embrace all damages resulting from any failure to discharge a carrier's duty with respect to any part of the transportation to the agreed destination.' The statute thus applies to damages caused by delay in making delivery. New York, Philadelphia & Norfolk R. Co. v. Peninsula Produce Exchange, 240 U.S. 34, 38, 36 S.Ct. 230, 60 L.Ed. 511,...

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    ...a carrier's duty with respect to any part of the transportation to the agreed destination." Southeastern Express Co. v. Pastime Amusement Co., 299 U.S. 28, 29, 57 S.Ct. 73, 81 L.Ed. 20 (1936) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Thus, an injured party may recover damages for del......
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