A stipulation in a "uniform livestock contract" signed and
accepted by both shipper and carrier to govern an interstate
shipment, and declaring in effect that the carrier shall not be
liable for loss or damage unless a claim therefor be made in
writing, verified by affidavit, and delivered to a designated agent
of the carrier at his office, in a place named, within five days of
the removal of the stock from the cars, is on its face
unobjectionable and, in the absence of any proof of circumstances
tending to render it invalid or excuse a failure to comply with it,
will be enforced.
Page 242 U. S. 143
The case is stated in the opinion.
MR. JUSTICE McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.
McLaughlin recovered judgment against the railway company in the
Circuit Court, Pocahontas County, West Virginia, for injuries to a
horse which it transported from Lexington, Kentucky, and delivered
to him at Seebert, West Virginia, February 17, 1914.
The shipment was under a "uniform livestock contract" signed by
both parties and introduced in evidence by defendant in error,
which, among other things, provides:
"That no claim for damages which may accrue to the said shipper
under this contract shall be allowed or paid by the said carrier or
sued for in any court by the said shipper, unless claim for such
loss or damage shall be made in writing, verified by the affidavit
of the said shipper or his agent and delivered to the general claim
agent of the said carrier at his office in Richmond, Virginia,
within five days from the time said stock is removed from said car
or cars, and that, if any loss or damages occur upon the line of a
connecting carrier then such carrier shall not be liable unless a
claim shall be made in like manner and delivered in like time to
some proper officer or agent of the carrier on whose line the loss
or injury occurs."
It conclusively appears that McLaughlin did not present a
verified claim to the carrier's agent as provided by the contract.
Upon its face, the agreement seems to be unobjectionable, and
nothing in the record tends to establish circumstances rendering it
invalid or excuse failure
Page 242 U. S. 144
to comply therewith. The court below erred in denying a
seasonable request for a directed verdict, and its judgment must be
reversed. Our recent opinions render unnecessary any further
discussion of the reasons for this conclusion. Northern Pacific
Railway Co. v. Wall, 241 U. S. 87
Georgia, Florida & Alabama Railway Co. v. Blish Milling
Co., 241 U. S. 190
Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific Railway Co. v.
Rankin, 241 U. S. 319
Reverse and remand for further proceedings not inconsistent with