Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. Harold,
241 U.S. 371 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. Harold, 241 U.S. 371 (1916)

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company v. Harold

No. 347

Argued May 2, 1916

Decided June 5, 1916

241 U.S. 371


Although the original interstate bill of lading of a car shipment was surrendered for an intrastate bill while the car was still in transit, if the car moved in a continuous interstate commerce shipment from its departure to its destination, a delivery at an intermediate point and substitution of an intrastate bill of lading is not such a new and distinct shipment as takes the car out of interstate commerce.

Although the federal question may not have been asserted until the application for rehearing, if the state court then considered and disposed of it adversely to plaintiff in error, this Court has jurisdiction under § 237, Judicial Code.

The Kansas courts, in determining the responsibility of the carrier under the bill of lading of an interstate shipment, having applied a local rule investing an innocent holder of a bill of lading with rights not available to the shipper, held that such rule is in direct conflict with the general commercial law on the subject, and applying the same to an interstate shipment was reversible error.

Quaere whether attributing such characteristics to an interstate bill of lading in conflict with the general commercial rule would not, even in the absence of legislation by Congress, constitute a direct burden on interstate commerce.

The Carmack Amendment to the Act to Regulate Commerce being an assertion of the power of Congress over the subject of interstate shipments, the duty to issue bills of lading and the responsibilities thereunder was action by Congress in regard thereto, and necessarily excludes state action in regard thereto.

The prime object of the Carmack Amendment was to bring about a uniform rule of responsibility as to interstate commerce and interstate bills of lading.

The principal subject of responsibility in regard to a matter within its exclusive control embraced by an Act of Congress necessarily carries with it the incidents thereto.

93 Kan. 456 reversed.

Page 241 U. S. 372

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of this Court under § 237, Judicial Code, and the construction of interstate bills of lading under the Act to Regulate Commerce, are stated in the opinion.

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