St. Louis Southwestern Ry. Co. of Texas v. Ray

Decision Date07 April 1910
CourtTexas Court of Appeals

Appeal from Bowie County Court; Joe Hughes, Judge.

Action by John R. Ray, Jr., against the St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company of Texas. From a judgment for plaintiff, defendant appeals. Reversed and remanded.

E. B. Perkins and Glass, Estes, King & Burford, for appellant. H. O. Ledgerwood and Rodgers & Dorough, for appellee.


This is a suit for damages for the loss of a box and its contents while in transit from New York City to Ft. Worth, and while in the custody of the appellant in the state of Missouri. It appears from the evidence that Mrs. H. O. Ledgerwood, while in New York, delivered the above-mentioned box to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company for shipment. That company issued a bill of lading describing the package as a box of books, with Ft. Worth as its destination. The form used is what is termed a "uniform bill of lading," which had been submitted to and approved by the Interstate Railroad Commission. By the terms of the bill of lading the Pennsylvania Railroad Company undertook to carry the property, subject to the classifications in effect on that day, to its usual place, and deliver if on that line; otherwise, to deliver to another carrier on the route to the destination of the goods. There was also a stipulation providing that in consideration of the reduced rate named the services to be rendered by each of the carriers should be subject to the conditions set forth on the back of the receipt or bill of lading. The only portion of those conditions material to be here considered is that in which it was specified that no carrier in possession of the property should be liable for loss occasioned by fire or causes beyond its control. The box was received and transported by the Pennsylvania road to East St. Louis, and there delivered to the appellant, and while in the possession of the latter was destroyed by fire. The claim for damages was assigned to the appellee, and this suit was instituted in his name. Among other defenses pleaded by the appellant in the court below was that provision of the bill of lading exempting any carrier in whose possession the goods might be from liability for loss caused by fire or other agencies beyond its control. To this portion of the answer the court sustained an exception, and instructed the jury that the plaintiff was liable, leaving to them only the ascertainment of the amount. This action of the court is the basis of the assignments which we will now consider.

In support of the court's rulings and instructions reference is made to the following provision of the interstate commerce law, commonly known as the "Hepburn Act": "That any common carrier, railroad or transportation company, receiving property for transportation from a point in one state to a point in another state shall issue a receipt or bill of lading therefor and shall be liable to the lawful holder thereof for any loss, damage, or injury to such property caused by it or by any common carrier, railroad, or transportation company to which such property may be delivered or over whose line or lines such property may pass, and no contract, receipt, rule, or regulation shall exempt such common carrier, railroad, or transportation company from the liability hereby imposed: Provided, that nothing in this section shall deprive any holder of such receipt or bill of lading of any remedy or right of action which he has under existing law." "That the common carrier, railroad, or transportation company issuing such receipt or bill of lading shall be entitled to recover from the common carrier, railroad, or transportation company on whose line the loss, damage, or injury shall have been sustained the amount of such loss, damage or injury as it may be required to pay the owners of such property, as may be evidenced by any receipt, judgment, or transcript thereof." Act Cong. June 29, 1906, c. 3591, 34 Stat. 584 (U. S. Comp. St. Supp. 1907, p. 892; Supp. 1909, p. 1149) amending the interstate commerce act (Act Cong. Feb. 4, 1887, c. 104, 24 Stat. 379 [U. S. Comp. St. 1901, p. 3154]). The appellant contends that this statute has no application here, for the reason that the liabilities it creates, and the restrictions it imposes, are intended only for the initial carrier, and that this suit is against an intermediate carrier. We have had some difficulty in arriving at a satisfactory disposition of that contention. Evidently one of the purposes of this statute was to furnish the owner of property being shipped from one state to another, with a certain and speedy means of collecting compensation for goods lost, or damaged, when transported over two or more lines of railway. The other purpose, doubtless, was to put an end to the almost universal practice, indulged in by carriers in interstate shipments, of limiting by contract their liability to their respective lines, and to such damages as resulted from their own negligence. The task...

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13 cases
  • Erisman v. Chi., B. & Q. R. Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 26 Junio 1917
    ...L. R. A. 1917A, 265; G., F. & Alabama Ry. Co. v. Blish Milling Co., 241 U. S. 190, 36 Sup. Ct. 541, 60 L. Ed. 948;St. Louis S. W. Ry. Co. v. Ray (Tex. Civ. App.) 127 S. W. 281;K. C. So. Ry. Co. v. Carl, 91 Ark. 97, 121 S. W. 932, 134 Am. St. Rep. 56;Bichlmeier v. R. R. Co., 159 Wis. 404, 15......
  • Ruebel Bros. v. American Express Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 31 Diciembre 1920
    ......The animal was shipped by various connecting. routes, died en route somewhere in Texas, and was. never delivered to the consignee. Plaintiff asserts that the. death was due to ... 185; Louisville & N. R. Co. v. Harned, (Ky.) 23 Ky. L. Rep. 1651, 66 S.W. 25; St. Louis & S. F. R. Co. v. Wells, 81 Ark. 469 (99 S.W. 534); Adams Exp. Co. v. Bratton, 106 Ill.App. ......
  • Erisman v. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 26 Junio 1917
    ......The latter [180 Iowa 762] he. could not do by parol testimony. Stevens v. St. Louis. S.W. R. Co. , (Tex.) 178 S.W. 810; Missouri, K. & T. R. Co. v. Harriman Bros. , 33 S.Ct. 397, ...& A. R. Co. v. Blish Milling Co. , 36 S.Ct. 541, 60 L.Ed. 948; St. Louis S.W. R. Co. of Texas v. Ray , (Tex.). 127 S.W. 281; Kansas City S. R. Co. v. Carl , (Ark.). 121 S.W. 932; Bichlmeier ... carrier, the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railroad Company,. under the Carmack Amendment of Sec. 20 of the Hepburn bill. (34 Stat. at L. ......
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    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • 3 Mayo 1913
    ...The case of Railway Co. v. Carl, supra, appears to be authority for the shipper to sue the intermediate carrier direct. Railway Co. v. Ray, 127 S. W. 281. And we hold that he may sue the initial carrier, together with the connecting carriers, over whose lines of road the shipment is routed,......
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