Liability for nonreceipt or misdescription; "said to contain"; "shipper's weight, load, and count"; improper handling.
(a) A consignee of a nonnegotiable bill of lading which has given value in good faith, or a holder to which a negotiable bill has been duly negotiated, relying upon the description of the goods in the bill or upon the date shown in the bill, may recover from the issuer damages caused by the misdating of the bill or the nonreceipt or misdescription of the goods, except to the extent that the bill indicates that the issuer does not know whether any part or all of the goods in fact were received or conform to the description, such as in a case in which the description is in terms of marks or labels or kind, quantity, or condition or the receipt or description is qualified by "contents or condition of contents of packages unknown", "said to contain", "shipper's weight, load, and count", or words of similar import, if that indication is true.
(b) If goods are loaded by the issuer of a bill of lading:
(1) the issuer shall count the packages of goods if shipped in packages and ascertain the kind and quantity if shipped in bulk; and
(2) words such as "shipper's weight, load, and count", or words of similar import indicating that the description was made by the shipper are ineffective except as to goods concealed in packages.
(c) If bulk goods are loaded by a shipper that makes available to the issuer of a bill of lading adequate facilities for weighing those goods, the issuer shall ascertain the kind and quantity within a reasonable time after receiving the shipper's request in a record to do so. In that case, "shipper's weight" or words of similar import are ineffective.
(d) The issuer of a bill of lading, by including in the bill the words "shipper's weight, load, and count", or words of similar import, may indicate that the goods were loaded by the shipper, and, if that statement is true, the issuer is not liable for damages caused by the improper loading. However, omission of such words does not imply liability for damages caused by improper loading.
(e) A shipper guarantees to an issuer the accuracy at the time of shipment of the description, marks, labels, number, kind, quantity, condition, and weight, as furnished by the shipper, and the shipper shall indemnify the issuer against damage caused by inaccuracies in those particulars. This right of indemnity does not limit the issuer's responsibility or liability under the contract of carriage to any person other than the shipper.
Source:Laws 2005, LB 570, § 73.
Prior Uniform Statutory Provision: Former section 7-301.
Changes: Changes for clarity, style, and to recognize deregulation in the transportation industry.
1. This section continues the rules from former section 7-301 with one substantive change. The obligations of the issuer of the bill of lading under former subsections (2) and (3) were limited to issuers who were common carriers. Subsections (b) and (c) apply the same rules to all issuers not just common carriers. This section is compatible with the policies stated in the federal
Bills of Lading Act, 49 U.S.C. section 80113 (2000).
2. The language of the precode Uniform Bills of Lading Act suggested that a carrier is ordinarily liable for damage caused by improper loading, but may relieve itself of liability by disclosing on the bill that shipper actually loaded. A more accurate statement of the law is that the carrier is not liable for losses caused by act or default of the shipper, which would include improper loading. D.H. Overmeyer Co. v. Nelson Brantley Glass Co., 168 S.E.2d 176 (Ga. Ct. App. 1969). There was some question whether under precode law a carrier was liable even to a good faith purchaser of a negotiable bill for such losses, if the shipper's faulty loading in fact caused the loss. Subsection (d) permits the carrier to bar, by disclosure of shipper's loading, liability to a good faith purchaser. There is no implication that decisions such as Modern Tool Corp. v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 100 F.Supp. 595 (D.N.J.1951), are disapproved.
3. This section is a restatement of existing law as to the method by which a bailee may avoid responsibility for the accuracy of descriptions which are made by or in reliance upon information furnished by the depositor or shipper. The wording in this section—"contents or condition of contents of packages unknown" or "shipper's weight, load, and count"—to indicate that the shipper loaded the goods or that the carrier does not know the description, condition, or contents of the loaded packages continues to be appropriate as commonly understood in the transportation industry. The reasons for this wording are as important in 2002 as when the prior section initially was approved. The issuer is liable on documents issued by an agent, contrary to instructions of his or her principal, without receiving goods. No disclaimer of this liability is permitted since it is not a matter either of the care of the goods or their description.
4. The shipper's erroneous report to the carrier concerning the goods may cause damage to the carrier. Subsection (e) therefor provides appropriate indemnity.
5. The word "freight" in the former section 7-301 has been changed to "goods" to conform to international and domestic land transport usage in which "freight" means the price paid for carriage of the goods and not the goods themselves. Hence, changing the word "freight" to the word "goods" is a clarifying change that fits both international and domestic practice.
Sections 7-203, 7-309, and 7-501.
Definitional Cross References:
"Bill of lading". Section 1-201.
"Consignee". Section 7-102.
"Document of title". Section 1-201.
"Duly negotiate". Section 7-501.
"Good faith". Sections 1-201 and 7-102.
"Goods". Section 7-102.
"Holder". Section 1-201.
"Issuer". Section 7-102.
"Notice". Section 1-202.
"Party". Section 1-201.
"Purchaser". Section 1-201.
"Receipt of goods". Section 2-103.
"Value". Section 1-204.