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NORTHERN PACIFIC RY. CO. V. WALL, 241 U. S. 87 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Northern Pacific Ry. Co. v. Wall, 241 U.S. 87 (1916)

Northern Pacific Railway Company v. Wall

No. 350

Argued December 1, 1915

Decided April 24, 1916

241 U.S. 87


Laws in force at the time and place of the making of a contract and which affect its validity, performance, and enforcement enter into and form a part of it, as if expressly referred to or incorporated therein.

A bill of lading is a contract, and, if interstate, it is to be construed in the light of the provision of the Carmack Amendment which prescribes how it shall be issued and makes the connecting carrier the agent of the receiving carrier for the purpose of completing the transportation and delivering the goods.

Whether, in construing an interstate bill of lading issued under the Carmack Amendment, due effect is given to the latter is a federal question.

A stipulation in a bill of lading of an interstate shipment of cattle that the shipper must, as a condition precedent to his right of recovery for injury to the cattle while in transit, give notice thereof in writing to some officer or station agent of the initial carrier before the cattle are removed from the place of destination or mingled with other livestock, is to be construed in the light of the Carmack Amendment, making the connecting or delivering carrier agent of the initial carrier, and notice given to the station agent or officer of the former operates as notice to the latter, and the fact that there is no officer or station agent primarily employed by the initial carrier at the point of destination does not relieve the shipper from compliance with the stipulation.

50 Mont. 122 reversed. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 241 U. S. 88

The facts, which involve the right of a shipper to recover from the carrier damages for injury to cattle being transported in interstate commerce owing to delay in transit and resulting decrease in weight, are stated in the opinion.

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