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Special Ex Cuses for the Carrier


SPECIAL EX CUSES FOR THE CARRIER. The carrier may show that the loss occurred through hidden defects or vice in the articles shipped, or from their being inse curely packed or marked, and thus excuse himself from liability. So any fault on the part of the shipper, as bad faith or fraud in giving goods in one class of freight when they should belong to another, may relieve the carrier. And where the shipper selects the vehicle, as an open car, he will relieve the carrier from losses aris ing from understood defects in the car selected. (Browne, Bailments, 113, and cases cited.) When the goods are taken from the carrier by a judi cial process he is relieved from liability for failure to de liver, if the proceeding on which they are taken is reg ular and valid or the goods are the property of the per son thus seizing them. And where the goods are taken into the custody of the law without the fault or conni vance of the carrier, he is excused for delay or non-de livery, but should give immediate notice to the shipper. A wrongful attachment or other seizure by an officer of goods in the hands of a carrier, is held not to excuse the carrier from liability to the owner; he must resist such wrongful taking, as the proceeding being invalid it is mere robbery. This seemingly harsh rule is modi fied in some cases through the ruling that if the writ by which the goods are taken is regular on its face, the carrier is excused for surrendering the property to the officer.

The carrier is not obliged to accept goods for trans portation beyond his own line, but he may do so and thus become responsible as a common carrier for the whole distance. Ey special contract he may limit his liability to his own line and delivery to the connecting carrier. Whether accepting goods marked to places beyond his lines binds the carrier for their delivery there, is in dispute. In England the acceptance makes a contract for through transportation; in America the rule is just the reverse, and it is but a contract to deliver to the next carrier. (Browne, Bailments, 114-5; El more v. Ry. Co., 23 Conn. 457.) In a few States the English rule prevails. (Mobile, Etc., Ry. Co. v. Cope land, 63 Ala. 219.)

liability, shipper and contract