Southern Express Co. v. Byers,
240 U.S. 612 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Southern Express Co. v. Byers, 240 U.S. 612 (1916)

Southern Express Co. v. Byers

No. 201

Submitted March 2, 1916

Decided April 3, 1916

240 U.S. 612


Rights and liabilities in connection with interstate shipments depend upon acts of Congress, the bill of lading, and common law principles accepted and enforced by federal courts.

In order to determine the validity and effect of restrictions upon liability contained in bills of lading issued by carrier for interstate shipments, applicable schedules on file with the Interstate Commerce Commission are material, and held error to exclude them in this case.

The common law rule long recognized in the federal courts is that mere mental pain and anxiety are too vague for legal redress where no injury is done to person, property, health or reputation, and so held in an action against an express company, that the consignee of a casket and grave clothes, who admittedly sustained no pecuniary damage by reason of delay in delivery, was not entitled to recover any damages whatever for mere mental suffering occasioned by such delay.

165 N.C. 642 reversed.

The facts, which involve the right of a shipper to recover damages for the mental anguish caused by delay in arrival of an interstate shipment, are stated in the opinion.

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