Wells, Fargo & Co. v. Nieman-Marcus Co. - 227 U.S. 469 (1913)
U.S. Supreme Court
Wells, Fargo & Co. v. Nieman-Marcus Co., 227 U.S. 469 (1913)
Wells, Fargo & Company v. Nieman-Marcus Company
Argued November 5, 1912
Decided February 24, 1913
227 U.S. 469
Whether void or not under the state statute, a provision in an express receipt limiting recovery in case of loss or negligence is valid as to interstate shipment under the Carmack Amendment if fairly made for the purpose of applying to the shipment the lower of two rates
based upon valuation. Adams Express Co. v. Croninger, 226 U. S. 491.
A statement filed in the case that a clause in a contract is void under a statute is a concession for purposes of argument as to a matter of law, and cannot conclude anyone, as it does not operate to withdraw the contract from the case nor its validity from the court's consideration.
The reasonable and just consequence of misrepresentation of value to get the lower rate of shipment is not that the shipper recover nothing, but that he is estopped to recover more than the value declared to obtain the rate.
A shipper, by accepting a receipt reciting that the carrier is not to be held liable beyond a specified amount at which the property is thereby valued unless a different value than that is so stated, and thus obtaining a lower rate than that which he would have been obliged to pay had he declared the full value, declares and represents that the value does not exceed the specified amount.
There is no substantial distinction between a value stated on inquiry and one agreed upon or declared voluntarily.
The facts, which involve the liability of an express company on goods of undeclared value and also the construction of the Carmack Amendment, are stated in the opinion.