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Prior to the passage of the Hepburn Act of 1906 the liability of a carrier for loss and damage to freight was dependent only upon state law. Beginning with that year, the federal government has been putting in legislative form its complete jurisdiction over Interstate Commerce, so that at the present time there is hardly a question governing even loss and damage cases, but must be solved with reference to federal decisions.
The Carmack amendment of 1906 made the initial carrier liable for injury to a shipment no matter where caused. The Cummins Amendment abolishes all limitations of liability, and now recently, the Bill of Lading Act has still further occupied the field by defining more specifically the rights and liabilities growing out of the transfer and negotiation of the bill of lading. Since the bill of lading is filed as part of the tariffs and practically defines all the conditions governing the shipment, it is submitted, that when once the Interstate Commerce Commission approves a form of bill of lading, any question arising thereunder will have to be determined solely with reference to federal law. Indeed it would seem that such is the case at the present time, although some state courts hold that questions under the bill of lading, since no form has yet been approved or ordered to be adopted by the Commission, may still be determined by state law.
With the thought of federal supremacy in mind, the author has endeavored to cover the field of loss and damage to freight, selecting the state cases, from the viewpoint of the federal decisions, particularly the cases decided since the passage of the Carmack Amendment.
The book is prepared as a guide to the traffic man in the settlement of loss and damage claims. While care has been taken to support the various principles with citations of cases they are intended to be illustrative rather than exhaustive. An