Page images
PDF
EPUB

sonal property that is subject to transportation. By the common law a common carrier is bound to receive without respect to persons whatever may be offered him for transportation, when the charges are paid or offered to be paid. After the goods have been delivered to the carrier the shipper cannot retake them without paying the freight, and if they are intercepted before reaching their destination, the full freight can be recovered by the carrier. The consignor or shipper is the party primarily liable for the freight and not the consignee or the person to whom the goods are shipped, unless the consignee expressly agrees to pay it.

Regulation of Charges. The charges that may be made are in some instances regulated by statute, and when not so regulated they must be reasonable and the same as generally charged to others for the same services.

Right to Refuse Goods.—The rule that a common carrier is found by the common law to receive whatever is offered to him to carry without respect to the persons offering is subject to three qualifications-viz.: First, the offer of the chattel must be for hire; second, the bailment must be within the carrier's means of safe con. veyance; third, such carriage should be in the line of. his vocation.

Interstate Commerce Law.-The carrier may pre scribe reasonable rules as to the time and manner of receiving goods. He cannot be required to receive them at an unreasonable hour or place, and he may insist that the goods be packed in a reasonable way. But by statutes passed in most of the states the carrier is prohibited from discriminating in favor of one customer over another either in rates or privileges of any kind. The common carrier must not select his patrons arbitrarily, but must furnish equal facilities to all. TO further this object a statute was passed by the Congress of the United States in 1887 which is known as the interstate commerce law. This law was designed to reg. ulate the commerce between the states and applies to all common carriers, either by land or water, who do business in two or more states or territories. It provides that no discrimination shall be made between

large or small, constant or occasional, shippers, and that no charges shall be unjust or unreasonable. It also provides that proportionate charges shall be made for long and short distances. The law further requires that the schedule of rates shall be published and filed with commissioners who are appointed to oversee the enforcement of the law and are known as the interstate commerce commissioners. The act also makes it unlawful for any common carrier who comes under its provisions to enter into any combination or agreement by which the continuous carriage of freight from one point to another shall be delayed or interrupted. All of the large railroad and express companies do business in more than one state, and therefore come within the provisions of this act.

When Liability Begins.—The common carrier becomes responsible for the goods when they are delivered to him for carriage and accepted by him in the capacity of a carrier, except when the loss arises from any of the following causes: (1) By an act of God, or by a public enemy; (2) by the act of the shipper; (3) by the act of the public authority; (4) from the nature of the goods.

Limitation of Liability by Contract.—The carrier in most of the states may limit his liability to a certain extent by contract with the shipper as to release for loss by fire, robbery, accidental delay, etc., but he can not contract away his liability for the fraud, misconduct, or negligence of himself, his agents, or servants.

Delivery by Carrier.-At the termination of the journey the goods transported shall be delivered to the consignee or his authorized agent within a reasonable time, the carrier being liable for delivery to the right party. Goods must be delivered to the holder of the bill of lading whether the holder be the consignee or a purchaser. A delivery at a residence or place of business is sufficient, other delivery being at the carrier's risk.

CARRIERS OF PASSENGERS. Liability. A common carrier of passengers is bound to receive and carry alike all persons applying and willing to pay for their transportation. The fare required of the passenger must be reasonable, and in many states it is regulated by statute. The carrier is bound to have means and appliances suitable to the transportation, and to use all reasonable precautions for the safety of passengers. He can prescribe reasonable rules as to showing tickets, etc. The carrier is not an insurer of the lives and safety of the passengers, but he is held to a high degree of care, and will be liable for even slight negligence. While the carrier does not warrant the safety of the passengers, he is held to the highest degree of care practicable under the circumstances. In most of the states the carrier is not permitted to limit his liability for injury to the passenger. It is considered contrary to public policy to exempt the carrier from liability for even slight negligence when the lives and safety of human beings are concerned. The passenger who pays his fare to the carrier is entitled to have certain baggage taken without charge, and for this baggage the carrier is liable as for the carriage of freight. Baggage in this sense includes such articles of personal necessity, convenience, and comfort as travelers under the circumstances are wont to take on their journeys. It does not include merchandise or a stock of goods used in the traveler's business.

EXEMPTION LAWS

In most of the states there exists a homestead law which exempts certain real property from liability of attachment by the creditors of the owner. Certain personal property is also exempt, and in most cases wages are exempt for a specified period. The following is approximately the law in the several states and territories:

Alabama.-Homestead to the value of $2000 or 160 acres of land not exceeding $2000 in value. Personal property to the value of $1000 and $25 wages.

Alaska.No homestead law. Specified articles of personal property worth from $750 to $1000, and wages for thirty days preceding judgment.

Arizona.-Homestead to the value of $4000 if claim is recorded. Personal property to the value of $1000. Wages earned for thirty days preceding levy. '

Arkansas.-Homestead of 160 acres in country or one-quarter acre in town or village, not exceeding in value $2500. Personal property including wages for sixty days to the amount of $500 for the head of a family and $200 for a single person.

California.-Homestead to the value of $5000. Certain specified articles of personal property not to exceed $1000. Wages for thirty days if necessary to support family, but one half of wages is liable for debts contracted for necessaries.

Colorado.-Homestead to the value of $2000 if claim is recorded. Certain specified articles of personal property, including library and instruments of professional men. Sixty per cent of any amount of wages due.

Connecticut.—Homestead to amount of $1,000 if claim is recorded. Certain specified articles of personal property and wages to the amount of $50.

Delaware.—No homestead exemption, and each county has a special law as to exemption of personal property.

District of Columbia.-Specified articles of personal property not exceeding $1000. Wages for two months not to exceed $200 and the salary of all government employees.

Florida.—Homestead consisting of 160 acres in country or one half acre in town. Personal property to the value of $1000 for the head of a family residing in the state, and all wages.

Georgia.—Constitution of the state provides a homestead exemption of $1600, either real or personal property, and the statutes allow fifty acres of land and five acres additional for every child under sixteen years of age. Certain specified articles of personal property and all laborers' wages.

Idaho.-Homestead to the value of $5000 for a married man and $1000 for a single man, but declaration of homestead must be filled. Specified articles of personal property to the value of $1000 and wages for thirty days.

Illinois.-Homestead to value of $1000. Personal property, $400 for married persons, $100 for single persons. Wages to the amount of $15 weekly for the head of a family.

Indiana.-$600 worth of either real or personal property is allowed as exemption to householders and married women residents of the state. One month's wages not to exceed $25.

Indian Territory. Homestead worth $2500, but not to exceed 160 acres if in the country. Personal property and wages for sixty days, not to exceed $500 for married persons and $200 for single persons.

Iowa.—Homestead one half acre in town or forty acres in country. Specified articles of personal property not to exceed $200 and wages for ninety days.

Kansas.—Homestead one acre in town and 160 acres in country. Specified articles of personal property and wages for three months preceding levy.

Kentucky.-Homestead to the value of $1000. Speci. fied articles of personal property and wages to the amount of $50.

Louisiana.—Homestead to the value of $2000. Speci. fied articles of personal property and all laborers' wages.

Maine.-Homestead to the value of $500 if recorded. Specified articles of personal property. Wages to the value of $20' except in suit for necessaries and then $10.

Maryland.-$100 worth of personal property and wages to the amount of $100.

Massachusetts.-Homestead to the value of $800 if recorded. Specified articles of personal property and wages to the amount of $20 except in suit for necessaries, and then $10.

Michigan.-Homestead to the value of $1500. Specified articles of personal property and goods to the value of $250. Eighty per cent of the wages of a householder not to exceed $30, others forty per cent up to $15.

Minnesota.—Homestead consisting of a city lot or one half acre in a town or eighty acres in the country, not allowed to a single man unless he resides on the

« PreviousContinue »