St Louis, Iron Mountain Southern Railway Company v. Starbird No 275 Starbird v. St Louis, Iron Mountain Southern Railway Company No 796, Nos. 275 and 796

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtDay
Citation37 S.Ct. 462,61 L.Ed. 917,243 U.S. 592
Docket NumberNos. 275 and 796
Decision Date30 April 1917
PartiesST. LOUIS, IRON MOUNTAIN, & SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY, Plff. in Err., v. C. A. STARBIRD, Administrator of the Estate of Adam Miller, Deceased. NO 275. C. A. STARBIRD, Administrator of the Estate of Adam Miller, Deceased, Plff. in Err., v. ST. LOUIS, IRON MOUNTAIN, & SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY. NO 796

243 U.S. 592
37 S.Ct. 462
61 L.Ed. 917
ST. LOUIS, IRON MOUNTAIN, & SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY, Plff. in Err.,

v.

C. A. STARBIRD, Administrator of the Estate of Adam Miller, Deceased. NO 275. C. A. STARBIRD, Administrator of the Estate of Adam Miller, Deceased, Plff. in Err., v. ST. LOUIS, IRON MOUNTAIN, & SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY. NO 796.

Nos. 275 and 796.
Argued December 5 and 6, 1916.
Decided April 30, 1917.

Page 593

Messrs. Thomas B. Pryor and Edward J. White for the St. Louis, Iron Mountain, & Southern Railway Company.

Messrs. Robert A. Rowe and Charles D. Folsom for C. A. Starbird.

Mr. Justice Day delivered the opinion of the court:

A motion is made to dismiss the writ of error upon the ground that no Federal question was properly raised in the state court. The disposition of this motion requires a consideration of § 237 of the Judicial Code [36 Stat. at L. 1156, chap. 231, Comp. Stat. 1913, § 1214], which section

Page 594

is in effect but a re-enactment of § 25 of the Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789 [1 Stat. at L. 85, chap. 20], and § 709 of the Revised Statutes of the United States.

This suit was brought by Miller, and revived by his administrator, to recover against the initial carrier, the St. Louis, Iron Mountain, & Southern Railway Company, for its negligence and that of connecting carriers in failing to properly refrigerate certain carloads of peaches, shipped from a point in Arkansas to the city of New York, over the lines of the initial and connecting carriers, and in the last-named city delivered upon the dock of the Pennsylvania Company, and found to be in a bad condition. Each shipment was interstate and upon a through bill of lading, the bill containing, among other things, a stipulation that the carrier should not be liable for damages unless claims for damages were reported to the delivering line within thirty-six hours after the consignee had been notified of the arrival of the freight at the place of delivery. In the answer filed in the case, making one of the issues upon which the case was tried and decided, the defendant set up this clause in the bill of lading and the failure of the plaintiff to comply with it.

Without now reciting other provisions of § 237, it is enough to say that a case is reviewable in this court where any title, right, privilege, or immunity is claimed under a statute of the United States, and the decision is against the title, right, privilege, or immunity especially set up or claimed by either party under such statute.

We have, therefore, to determine three propositions: (1) Was there a right involved which is the creation of a Federal statute? (2) Was it sufficiently set up and called to the attention of the state court so as to be 'especially set up or claimed,' within the meaning of the act? (3) Was the decision against the right set up or claimed under the Federal statute? If these requisites are complied with, the case is reviewable here.

Page 595

1. On June 29, 1906, Congress passed the so-called Hepburn Act (34 Stat. at L. 584, chap. 3591, Comp. Stat. 1913, § 8592), by § 7 of which it undertook to provide for the liability of carriers in interstate commerce and to subject them, as to interstate shipments, to certain obligations which should supersede the varying requirements of the states through which interstate transportation might be conducted. The construction of this act came before this court in Adams Exp. Co. v. Croninger, 226 U. S. 491, 57 L. ed. 314, 44 L.R.A.(N.S.) 257, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 148, and upon full consideration it was held that the effect of the Carmack Amendment was to supersede all legislation in the particular states, and to embrace the liability of the carrier in interstate transportation. It was there said that almost every detail of the subject had been completely covered, and that there could be no rational doubt that Congress intended to take possession of the subject and lay down rules and regulations upon which the parties might rely and have their rights determined by a uniform rule of obligation. Among other things, the act required that the initial carrier should issue a receipt or bill of lading whenever it received property for transportation from a point in one state to a point in another state, and the initial carrier was made liable, not only for the results of its own negligence, but also for loss, damage, or injury to the property occasioned by any common carrier, railroad, or transportation company to which the property should be delivered and over whose line or lines the property might pass; and it was provided that no contract, receipt, rule, or regulation should exempt such initial carrier from the liability imposed by the act.

As the shipment in this case was interstate, there can be no question that, since the decision in the Croninger Case, supra, the parties are held to the responsibilities imposed by the Federal law, to the exclusion of all other rules of obligation. Since the Carmack Amendment, the carrier in this case is liable only under the terms of that

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act of Congress, and the action against it to recover on a through bill of lading for the negligence of connecting carriers as well as of itself was founded on that Amendment. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Riverside Mills, 219 U. S. 186, 196, 55 L. ed. 167, 178, 31 L.R.A.(N.S.) 7, 31 Sup. Ct. Rep. 164.

This principle has been so frequently recognized in the recent decisions of this court that it is only necessary to refer to some of them. In Southern R. Co. v. Prescott, 240 U. S. 632, 636, 639, 60 L. ed. 836, 838, 839, 36 Sup. Ct. Rep. 469, this court said:

'As the shipment was interstate, and the bill of lading was issued pursuant to the Federal act, the question whether the contract thus set forth had been discharged was necessarily a Federal question. . . . Viewing the contract set forth in the bill of lading as still in force, the measure of liability under it must also be regarded as a Federal question. As it has often been said, the statutory provisions manifest the intention of Congress that the obligation of the carrier with respect to the services within the purview of the statute shall be governed by uniform rule in the place of the diverse requirements of state legislation and decisions.'

In Southern Exp. Co. v. Byers, 240 U. S. 612, 614, 60 L. ed. 825, 827, L.R.A.1917A, 197, 36 Sup. Ct. Rep. 410, this court said:

'Manifestly, the shipment was interstate commerce; and, under the settled doctrine established by our former opinions, rights and liabilities in connection therewith depend upon acts of Congress, the bill of lading, and common-law principles accepted and enforced by the Federal courts.'

To the same effect, Northern P. R. Co. v. Wall, 241 U. S. 87, 91, 92, 60 L. ed. 905, 907, 908, 36 Sup. Ct. Rep. 493; Georgia, F. & A. R. Co. v. Blish Mill. Co. 241 U. S. 190, 60 L. ed. 948, 36 Sup. Ct. Rep. 541; Cincinnati, N. O. & T. P. R. Co. v. Rankin, 241 U. S. 319, 60 L. ed. 1022, L.R.A.1917A, 265, 36 Sup. Ct. Rep. 555.

2. As to the part of § 237 which deals with rights of this character, it requires that the right, privilege, etc., must be especially set up or claimed in order to make a decision

Page 597

of the state court a proper subject of examination by writ of error from this court.

It would be superfluous to review the many decisions in which this court has had occasion to consider the effect of this provision, which has been in the law ever since the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789 in practically the terms in which it is now embodied in § 237.

It is manifest that the object of the provision is to require that the alleged right of a Federal character must in some way be drawn to the attention of the state court so that it may know, or, from the nature of the pleadings, be held to have known, that a Federal right was before it for adjudication.

The Carmack Amendment is a Federal statute regulating interstate commerce. It was passed under the power conferred by the Constitution upon Congress to regulate such commerce, and is applicable throughout the United States, and at once became the rule of law governing such shipments in all the courts of the country. Claflin v. Houseman, 93 U. S. 130, 136, 23 L. ed. 833, 838; Second Employers' Liability Cases (Mondou v. New York, N. H. & H. R. Co.) 223 U. S. 1, 56 L. ed. 327, 38 L.R.A.(N.S.) 44, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 169, 1 N. C. C. A. 169.

Since the passage of the Carmack Amendment, the state court must be held to have known that interstate shipments were covered by a uniform Federal rule which required the issuance of a bill of lading, and that that bill of lading contained the entire contract upon which the responsibilities of the parties rested. This is the result not only of our own holdings, but is universally held in the state courts.2

Page 598

The Federal right is not required to be pleaded in any special or particular form. It is enough that it be relied upon and in a proper manner called to the attention of the court. Section 237 of the Judicial Code does not require that the statute creating the Federal right shall be especially set up. The courts take judicial notice of the statute. It is the right, privilege, or immunity of Federal origin which must be brought to the attention of the state court.

This question has been frequently dealt with in the decisions of this court; under the Judiciary Act of 1789 a case arose which required a consideration of § 25 and the requirements to be observed in order to bring a case within its provisions,—Crowell v. Randell, 10 Pet. 368, 9 L. ed. 458. In that case the requirements of the Judiciary Act and the former decisions of this court were reviewed by Mr. Justice Story. Dealing with this feature of the law, he said:

'That it is not necessary that the question should appear on the record to have been raised, and the decision made in direct and positive terms, ipsissimis...

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154 practice notes
  • Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. v. Regal-Beloit Corp., Nos. 08–1553
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 21, 2010
    ...receiving rail carrier is dictated by the text and is consistent with this Court's precedent. See St. Louis, I.M. & S.R. Co. v. Starbird, 243 U.S. 592, 604, 37 S.Ct. 462, 61 L.Ed. 917 (1917) (explaining that Carmack “requires the receiving carrier to issue a through bill of lading”). A rece......
  • Denby v. Seaboard World Airlines, Inc., No. CV-82-0593.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • December 8, 1983
    ...v. Oregon Short Line Railroad, 258 U.S. 22, 42 S.Ct. 192, 66 L.Ed. 443 (1922); St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway v. Starbird, 243 U.S. 592, 37 S.Ct. 462, 61 L.Ed. 917 (1917), and by the New York courts with express regard to contracts under the Warsaw Convention. See Crosby & Co. ......
  • Rice & Lockwood Lumber Co. v. Boston & M.R.R.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • January 10, 1941
    ...593;Southern Railway v. Prescott, 240 U.S. 632, 36 S.Ct. 469, 60 L.Ed. 836;St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway v. Starbird, 243 U.S. 592, 37 S.Ct. 462, 61 L.Ed. 917. The term ‘transportation’ has been broadly defined by the act, U.S.C., Title 49, § 1, 49 U.S.C.A. § 1, to include ‘al......
  • Union Pacific R. R. Co. v. Pacific Market Co., 957
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • August 26, 1921
    ...This was notice of plaintiff's claim. (Ga. F. & A. R. R. Co. v. Blish Co., 241 U.S. 190; St. L. I. M. & S. R. R. Co.. v. Starbird, 243 U.S. 592.) Herbert V. Lacey and John W. Lacey, in Reply. The contract here involved was for an interstate shipment and is controlled by Federal statutes. It......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
154 cases
  • Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. v. Regal-Beloit Corp., Nos. 08–1553
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 21, 2010
    ...receiving rail carrier is dictated by the text and is consistent with this Court's precedent. See St. Louis, I.M. & S.R. Co. v. Starbird, 243 U.S. 592, 604, 37 S.Ct. 462, 61 L.Ed. 917 (1917) (explaining that Carmack “requires the receiving carrier to issue a through bill of lading”). A rece......
  • Denby v. Seaboard World Airlines, Inc., No. CV-82-0593.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • December 8, 1983
    ...v. Oregon Short Line Railroad, 258 U.S. 22, 42 S.Ct. 192, 66 L.Ed. 443 (1922); St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway v. Starbird, 243 U.S. 592, 37 S.Ct. 462, 61 L.Ed. 917 (1917), and by the New York courts with express regard to contracts under the Warsaw Convention. See Crosby & Co. ......
  • Rice & Lockwood Lumber Co. v. Boston & M.R.R.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • January 10, 1941
    ...593;Southern Railway v. Prescott, 240 U.S. 632, 36 S.Ct. 469, 60 L.Ed. 836;St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway v. Starbird, 243 U.S. 592, 37 S.Ct. 462, 61 L.Ed. 917. The term ‘transportation’ has been broadly defined by the act, U.S.C., Title 49, § 1, 49 U.S.C.A. § 1, to include ‘al......
  • Union Pacific R. R. Co. v. Pacific Market Co., 957
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • August 26, 1921
    ...This was notice of plaintiff's claim. (Ga. F. & A. R. R. Co. v. Blish Co., 241 U.S. 190; St. L. I. M. & S. R. R. Co.. v. Starbird, 243 U.S. 592.) Herbert V. Lacey and John W. Lacey, in Reply. The contract here involved was for an interstate shipment and is controlled by Federal statutes. It......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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