Eastern Ry. Co. of New Mexico v. Littlefield
237 U.S. 140 (1915)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Eastern Ry. Co. of New Mexico v. Littlefield, 237 U.S. 140 (1915)

Eastern Railway Company of New Mexico v. Littlefield

No. 320

Submitted March 1, 1915

Decided April 5, 1915

237 U.S. 140

Syllabus

Penna. R. Co. v. Puritan Mining Co., ante, p. 237 U. S. 121, followed to effect that, under the proviso of § 22 of the Act to Regulate Commerce, the state courts, by virtue of their general jurisdiction, can determine the right of a shipper to recover damages from the carrier for its failure to supply a reasonable number of cars after it had accepted the order, although a car shortage existed of which it had knowledge, but did not notify the shipper.

While a carrier may be relieved from performing a service by reason of conditions arising without fault on its part, it must promptly notify shippers of its inability, or the reception of goods without notice will estop the carrier from setting up what might be a sufficient excuse.

Where the record does not contain the evidence and there are no findings of fact, the verdict of the jury in favor of the plaintiff must be construed to mean that the evidence sustained the material allegations of the complaint.

The liability of a carrier for failing to furnish a reasonable number of cars for an accepted shipment becomes fixed when the goods are tendered and the carrier fails to furnish the facilities needed, and that liability cannot be avoided by proving a car shortage for which the carrier was not responsible, but of which it gave no notice to the shipper.

Whether a carrier is liable at common law as forwarders of freight to be delivered to connecting carriers outside the state, and whether associated carriers are so associated as to be jointly and severally liable, are not federal questions, and are concluded by the decision of the state court.

Writ of error to review 154 S.W. 543 dismissed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 237 U. S. 142

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