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BARRETT V. VAN PELT, 268 U. S. 85 (1925)

U.S. Supreme Court

Barrett v. Van Pelt, 268 U.S. 85 (1925)

Barrett v. Van Pelt

No. 160

Argued January 6, 1925

Decided April 13, 1925

268 U.S. 85


1. The first Cummins Amendment to § 20 of the Act to Regulate Commerce, concerning the duty of carriers to issue receipts or bills of lading for interstate freight and their liability for loss or damage, provides:

"That if the loss, damage, or injury complained of was due to delay or damage while being loaded or unloaded, or damaged in transit by carelessness or negligence, then no notice of claim nor filing of claim shall be required as a condition precedent to recovery."

Held that the words "carelessness or negligence" qualify the whole clause; "damaged" should be read "damage," and the comma after "unloaded" should be omitted. P. 268 U. S. 87.

2. Thus read, carelessness or negligence is an element of each case of loss, damage, or injury included in the clause, and, in such case, carriers are not permitted to require notice or filing of claim as a condition precedent to recovery. P. 268 U. S. 91.

3. In an action against an express company for damages due to delay, the shipper, not having given notice and filed a claim, as required by the uniform express receipt, must prove the delay was due to the carrier's carelessness or negligence. P. 268 U. S. 91.

205 App.Div. 332 reversed.

Certiorari to a judgment of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, affirming a judgment for damages based on delay of an express company in transporting and delivering a carload of eggs.

Page 268 U. S. 86

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