This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
This matter has been regulated both by Federal and state statutes. Under the present Federal statutes1 a common carrier is to publish its rates and tariffs and file them with the interstate commerce commission; and as far as such limitation of liability is valid,2 those who deal with the common carrier are charged with knowledge of such rates and tariffs, and of the limitations upon liability, including limitations as to the amount of liability which are contained in such published rates and tariffs.3
7 Henderson v. Stevenson, L. R. 2 H. L. (Sc.) 470; Boyd v. Spencer, 103 Ga. 828, 68 Am. St. Rep. 146, 30 S. E. 841; Louisville, etc., Ry. v. Turner, 100 Tenn. 213, 43 L. R. A. 140, 47 S. W. 223.
8 See ch. VI et seq.
1 34 U. S. Stat. at L. 595, c. 3591, Sec. 7, the act of June 29, 1906, which is the so-called Carmack Amendment. While this provision was repealed or modified by 38 U. S. Stat. at L. 1196, c. 176 (the act of March 4, 1915, which was the so-called Cummings Act) it was apparently re-enacted by 39 U. S. Stat. at L. 441, c. 301, which was the act of August 9, 1916.
2 See ch. XXIV.
3 Adams Exp. Co. v. Croninger, 226 U. S. 491, 57 L. ed. 314, 44 L. R. A. (N.S.) 257; Boston & M. R. Co. v.
Hooker, 233 U. S. 97, 58 L. ed. 868, L. R. A. 1915B. 450; New York Cent. & Hudson R. R. Co. v. Bea-ham, 242 U. S. 148, 61 L. ed. 210; American Express Co. v. United States Horseshoe Co., 244 U. S. 58, 61 L. ed. 990 [reversing judgment, United States Horseshoe Co. v. American Express Co., 250 Pa. St. 527, 95 Atl. 706]; 6cullin v. Eoff, 126 Ark. 523, 191 S. W. 31; Tribble v. Southern Express Co., - S. Car. - , 96 S. E. 712; Sweetser v. Chicago & Alton R. Co., 196 111. App. 623; St. Louis & San Francisco R. Co. v. Taliaferro, 56 Okla. 519, 156 Ac. 359; Strong v. Wells, 39 S. D. 389, 164 N. W. 967.
The original position of the court was, that if the bill of lading recites the offer of lawful alternate rates, such recitals are prima facie evidence ctual knowledge on the part of the shipper is now held to be immaterial. American Express Co. v. United States Horseshoe Co., 244 U. S. 58, 61 L. ed. 000 [reversing judgment, United States Horseshoe Co. v. American Express Co., 250 Pa. St. 527, 95 Atl. 706. The shipper is bound by his acceptance of the lower rate although he did not in fact, know of his right to elect the higher rate. Scullin v. Eoff, 126 Ark. 523, 101 S. W. 314.
These provisions of the Federal statutes control all interstate shipments, without regard to the rule in force in any of the jurisdictions in which such shipment began or was performed.4 While this rule was laid down in cases which involved primarily the validity of such limitations on liability, it would seem that such Federal legislation had also ended the conflict between the courts of the different states of the Union as to the necessity of express communication of the terms of the contract by which the common carrier sought to limit or avoid liability as far as interstate shipments are concerned. The conflict will still persist, however, as far as intrastate shipments are concerned. In some jurisdictions it is provided by statute that a common carrier can not limit his liability unless on terms by which such limitation is made are communicated expressly to the adversary party.5