Chicago & Alton R. Co. v. Kirby - 225 U.S. 155 (1912)
U.S. Supreme Court
Chicago & Alton R. Co. v. Kirby, 225 U.S. 155 (1912)
Chicago & Alton Railroad Company v. Kirby
Argued April 25, 1912
Decided May 27, 1912
225 U.S. 155
The implied agreement of a common carrier is to carry safely and deliver at destination within a proper time; evidence of diligence and no unreasonable delay excuses.
A carrier who agrees to expedite assumes a more burdensome liability, and can exact a higher rate, than where mere carrier's liability exists.
An interstate carrier can assume an extra liability for expediting, provided it makes and publishes a rate therefor and opens it to all.
To agree with a particular shipper to expedite a shipment at regular rates, where no rate has been published for special expediting, is a discrimination and as such a violation of the Elkins Act of February 19, 1903, 32 Stat. 847, c. 708, and relief on the contract will be denied.
The broad purpose of the Commerce Act to compel the establishment of reasonable rates and uniform application will not be defeated by sanctioning special contracts giving special advantages to particular shippers.
To guarantee a particular connection and transportation by a particular train amounts to giving a preference when not open to all and provided for in the published tariffs, and, under the Elkins Act, is an illegal discrimination.
A shipper is presumed to know what the published rates are, and if they do not contain provisions for the special service guaranteed to him, he must be taken as having contracted for a rate discriminatory in his favor.
Where plaintiff sues only on a special contract for prompt delivery by specified train, and there is no count for negligence as a carrier only, his claim for damages based on such negligence is not presented, and cannot be considered, on the record.
242 Ill. 418 reversed.
The facts, which involve the validity under the Elkins Act of a special contract for prompt delivery of goods by an interstate carrier, are stated in the opinion.