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Alcoa Steamship Co., Inc. v. United States, 338 U.S. 421 (1949)

Alcoa Steamship Co., Inc. v. United States

No. 271

Argued November 16, 1949

Decided December 19, 1949

338 U.S. 421


Government property which was being carried by sea under a standard form government bill of lading was lost by enemy action before reaching its destination. The government bill of lading provided that, "unless otherwise specifically provided or otherwise stated hereon," the shipment would be governed by the rules and conditions applicable to commercial shipments, but payment was conditioned on presentation of the bill of lading "properly accomplished," and of a "freight voucher prepared on the authorized Government form." A "goods or vessel lost or not lost" provision in the carrier's commercial bill of lading would have entitled the carrier to payment of the freight had the shipment been a commercial one.

Held: the terms of the government bill of lading, considered with provisions of the required voucher, were inconsistent with the "goods or vessel lost or not lost" provision, and the United States was not liable for the freight on the lost property. Pp. 338 U. S. 422-429.

175 F.2d 661, affirmed.

In a suit against the United States under the Tucker Act, now 28 U.S.C. § 1346, to recover a sum alleged to have been due under a contract of affreightment, the District Court gave judgment for the claimant. 80 F.Supp. 158. The Court of Appeals reversed. 175 F.2d 661. This Court granted certiorari. 338 U.S. 813. Affirmed, p. 338 U. S. 429.

Page 338 U. S. 422

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