New York Central & Hudson River R. Co. v. Beaham,
242 U.S. 148 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

New York Central & Hudson River R. Co. v. Beaham, 242 U.S. 148 (1916)

New York Central & Hudson River

Railroad Company v. Beaham

No. 118

Argued November 16, 1916

Decided December 4, 1916

242 U.S. 148


When a passenger claims damages from a carrier for the loss of baggage accepted by the carrier for transportation between states, the rights and liabilities of the parties depend upon the Acts of Congress, the agreement of the parties and the common law principles accepted and enforced by the federal courts.

In such case, the carrier is entitled to the presumption that its business was being rightfully conducted.

Where a stipulation, limiting a carrier's liability for baggage unless its value is stated and an extra charge paid, is printed on the face of a ticket as an ingredient of the ticket contract, and is, in substance, reiterated on a baggage check, one who, purchasing the ticket, employs it at once in checking baggage, receives the check and accepts and uses both ticket and check without objection, may be presumed to have assented to the stipulation, although he did not read it.

As bearing on its baggage liability, an interstate carrier has a right to put in evidence applicable tariff schedules on file with the Interstate Commerce Commission, and to have them duly considered by the court.

In an action over lost baggage, copies of tariff schedules on file with

Page 242 U. S. 149

the Interstate Commerce Commission, certified by its Chairman, and containing clauses limiting baggage liability were offered by the defendant and received in evidence notwithstanding objection to the mode of certification. Judgment having been rendered on the theory that the limitation could not bind the plaintiff without her assent, the court below, on appeal, though holding such theory erroneous, affirmed the judgment upon the ground that the certification was insufficient and the copies therefore inadmissible. Held that whether the certification was sufficient or not, it was error to affirm the judgment and thus foreclose the defendant from protecting itself by introducing other evidence on a new trial.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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