Texas & Pacific Ry. Co. v. Clayton - 173 U.S. 348 (1899)
U.S. Supreme Court
Texas & Pacific Ry. Co. v. Clayton, 173 U.S. 348 (1899)
Texas & Pacific Railway Company v. Clayton
Argued January 27, 1899
Decided February 20, 1899
173 U.S. 348
The Texas and Pacific Railway Company received at Bonham, in Texas, 467 bales of cotton for transportation to Liverpool. It was to be taken by the company over its road to New Orleans, and thence to Liverpool by a steamship company, to which it was to be delivered by the railway company at its wharf in New Orleans. Each bill of lading contained the following, among other clauses:
"The terms and conditions hereof are understood and accepted by the owner, viz.,: (1) that the liability of the Texas and Pacific Railway Company in respect to said cotton and under this contract is limited to its own line of railway, and will cease, and its part of this contract be fully performed upon delivery of said cotton to its next connecting carrier, and in case of any loss, detriment, or damage done to or sustained by said cotton before its arrival and delivery at its final destination, whereby any legal liability is incurred by any carrier, that carrier alone shall be held liable therefor in whose actual custody the cotton shall be at the time of such damage, detriment, or loss."
The cotton reached New Orleans in safety, and was unloaded at the wharf, and the steamship company was notified, but before it was taken possession of by that company it was destroyed by fire at the wharf. The owners in Liverpool having brought suit against the railway company to recover the value of the cotton, that company, on the facts detailed at length in the opinion of the Court, contended that the cotton had passed out of its possession into that of the steamship company, or, if the court should hold otherwise, that its liability as common carrier had ceased, and that it was only liable as a warehouseman. Held that the goods were still in the possession of the railway company at the time of their destruction, and that that company was liable to their owners for the full value as a common carrier, and not as a warehouseman.
The case is stated in the opinion.