Express Company v. Caldwell - 88 U.S. 264 (1874)
U.S. Supreme Court
Express Company v. Caldwell, 88 U.S. 21 Wall. 264 264 (1874)
Express Company v. Caldwell
88 U.S. (21 Wall.) 264
An agreement made by an express company, a common carrier in the habit of carrying small packages, that the company shall not be held liable for any loss of or damage to a package whatever delivered to it unless claim should be made therefor within ninety days from its delivery to the company, is an agreement which such company can rightfully make, the time required for transit between the place where the package is delivered to the company and that to which it is consigned not being long -- in the present case, a single day.
Caldwell sued the Southern Express Company in the court below, as a common carrier, for its failure to deliver at New Orleans a package received by it on the 23d day of April, 1862, at Jackson, Tennessee, places the transit between which requires only about one day. The company pleaded that when the package was received,
"it was agreed between the company and the plaintiff, and made one of the express conditions upon which the package was received,
that the company should not be held liable for any loss of, or damage to, the package whatever, unless claim should be made therefor within ninety days from its delivery to it."
The plea further averred that no claim was made upon the defendant or upon any of its agents until the year 1868, more than ninety days after the delivery of the package to the company, and not until the present suit was brought. To the plea thus made the plaintiff demurred generally, and the circuit court sustained the demurrer, giving judgment thereon against the company. Whether this judgment was correct was the question now to be passed on here.