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Secretary of Agriculture v. United States, 350 U.S. 162 (1956)

Secretary of Agriculture v. United States

Argued October 12, 1955

Decided January 9, 1956*

350 U.S. 162


The Interstate Commerce Commission issued an order approving tariff regulations providing that railroads will be responsible for claims for physical damage to shell eggs carried by them only to the extent that such damage is in excess of specified percentages or "tolerances." The validity of the regulations was challenged on the ground that they violated § 20(11) of the Interstate Commerce Act, which provides that any carrier subject to the Act receiving property for interstate transportation "shall be liable . . . for any loss, damage, or injury to such property caused by it" and forbids any limitation of, or exemption from, such liability. The Commission had concluded that, since the tolerances represented pre-shipment and unavoidable damage not "caused by" the railroads, their deduction from damage claims could not limit the railroads' proper liability.

Held: the Commission's findings were insufficient to support this conclusion or to establish that the tolerances permitted by its order will not operate to limit carrier liability in violation of § 20(11), and the Commission's order must be set aside. Pp. 350 U. S. 163-173.

119 F.Supp. 86 reversed.

Page 350 U. S. 163

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