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MOBILE & MONTGOMERY RY. CO. V. JUREY, 111 U. S. 584 (1884)

U.S. Supreme Court

Mobile & Montgomery Ry. Co. v. Jurey, 111 U.S. 584 (1884)

Mobile & Montgomery Railway Company v. Jurey

Argued April 15, 1884

Decided May 5, 1884

111 U.S. 584


The fact that a railroad company gives a shipper a bill of lading when the goods are delivered does not preclude the shipper, in an action against the company as common carriers, from showing, when such is the fact, that the bill of lading does not express the terms of the transportation contract.

A court instructing a jury as to the construction of a writing offered in evidence

Page 111 U. S. 585

as a contract should take into consideration not only the language of the paper but the subject matter of the contract and the surrounding circumstances.

When it plainly appears on the face of a record that the judgment below was right, it will not be reversed for a technical error which worked no injury to the plaintiff in error.

An insurer against loss by fire subrogated for the assured by reason of payment of the policy may, in a suit against a common carrier brought in the name of the assured for the value of the goods insured, recover the full amount of the loss or damage, without regard to the amount of the policy. There is nothing in § 2891 Alabama Code in conflict with this general rule.

The measure of damages in an action against a common carrier for loss of goods in transit is their value at the point of destination with legal interest.

When a common exception is taken to a part of a charge involving two propositions, one of which is sound and the other error, the exception is of no avail unless the erroneous part be specially brought to the attention of the court before the jury retires.

The plaintiffs below (defendants in error) shipped cotton over the defendant's railroad, taking a bill of lading which exempted the company from liability from destruction by fire. The cotton was insured for part of its value. It was entirely destroyed in transit. The policy being paid, this action was brought in the name of the shippers on the contract of shipment for the benefit of the insurer, but without averring the policy and its payment. The material facts appear fully in the opinion of the Court. The contentions upon them were:

1. That the bill of lading expressed the contract, and could not be varied by parol evidence.

2. That the action being brought in the name of the shippers, without setting forth the policy, a recovery could not be had for the benefit of the insurer.

3. That in any event, that recovery would be limited to the amount of the policy.

4. That the recovery in this form of action must be limited to the value of the goods less the amount received from the insurers.

5. There were also questions as to the pleadings and as to the rate of interest, which are stated in the opinion of the court.

Page 111 U. S. 586

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