Mexican Light Power Company v. Texas Mexican Railway Company/Dissent Reed
United States Supreme Court
MEXICAN LIGHT POWER COMPANY v. TEXAS MEXICAN RAILWAY COMPANY
Argued: Feb. 6, 1947. --- Decided: June 16, 1947
Mr. Justice REED, with whom Mr. Chief Justice VINSON joins, dissenting.
We are of the opinion that the respondent, The Texas Mexican Railway Company, is the initial carrier under the bill of lading issued by it at Laredo for carriage of the articles to El Oro, Mexico. The bill of lading issued by the Pennsylvania Railroad was for carriage from Sharon, Pennsylvania, to Laredo, Texas. Accepting the interpretation of the Court, that this Pennsylvania bill required the delivery of the shipment by the respondent at the International Boundary in Laredo, there remains the necessity of causing the shipment to cross the boundary line and proceed upon its journey into Mexico. As the Court concedes, the bill of lading, sued upon here, was used to clear 'the shipment with the Mexican customs.' It is also plain that it was this latter bill that caused the shipment to cross the line. Without it, the respondent could not have made delivery to the Mexican railway system. The Pennsylvania bill of lading called for delivery to the consignee's agent in Laredo, Fausto Trevino. The consideration to respondent for its issue would be a similar service for northbound shipments from the Mexican Railways or promotion of respondent's export business.
The Ward case, 244 U.S. 383, 37 S.Ct. 617, 61 L.Ed. 1213, is not an authority for the Court's holding. There the suit was brought on a through bill from a Texas point to an Oklahoma point. The defense was that a new contract had been made with a connecting carrier. It was said, 244 U.S. 387, 37 S.Ct. 619:
'The bill of lading required to be issued by the initial carrier upon an interstate shipment governs the entire transportation. The terms of the original bill of lading were not altered by the second issued by the connecting carrier. As appellants were already bound to transport the cattle at the rate and upon the terms named in the original bill of lading, the acceptance by the shipper of the second bill was without consideration and was void.'
The facts of this case seem to us entirely different and to require that the respondent railway accept responsibility as the initial carrier.
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