U.S. Supreme Court
The Folmina, 212 U.S. 354 (1909)
Argued January 21, 22, 1909
Decided February 23, 1909
212 U.S. 354
When goods which were received in good order on board a vessel under a bill of lading agreeing to deliver them at termination of the voyage in like good order and condition are damaged on the voyage, the burden is on the carrier to show that the damage was occasioned by a peril for which he was not responsible. Clark v. Barnwell, 12 How. 272.
Merely proving that damage to cargo was by seawater does not establish that such damage was caused by peril of the sea within the exception of the bill of lading; in such a case, conjecture cannot take the place of proof. The G. R. Booth, 171 U. S. 450.
Where a certified question does not propound a distinct issue of law, chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
but in effect calls for a decision of the whole case, this Court need not, and in this case does not, answer it. Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. v. Williams, 205 U. S. 444.
"whether damage to the cargo of an apparently seaworthy ship, through the unexplained admission of seawater, in the absence of any proof of fault on the part of the officers or crew of the ship, is of itself a sea peril within the meaning of an exception in a bill of lading exempting the carrier from the act of God . . . loss or damage from . . . explosion, heat or fire on board . . . risk of craft or hulk or transshipment, and all and every the dangers and accidents of the seas, rivers and canals and of navigation of whatever nature and kind"
answered in the negative.
The question "whether the ship is relieved from liability in consequence of said exception," not presenting a distinct issue of law, not answered.
The facts are stated in the opinion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary