ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
White, McKenna, Holmes, Day, Hughes, Van Devanter, Lamar, Pitney, McReynolds
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the court.
Sections 2574 and 2575 of the Civil Code of South Carolina (1912) provide in part as follows:
"All common carriers over whose transportation lines,
or parts thereof, any freight, baggage or other property received by either of such carriers for through shipment or transportation by such carriers on a contract for through carriage, recognized, acquiesced in or acted upon by such carriers, shall in this State, with respect to the undertaking and matters of such transportation, be considered and construed to be connecting lines, and be deemed and held to be the agents of each other, each the agent of the others, and all the others the agents of each, and shall be held and deemed to be under a contract with each other and with the shipper, owner and consignees of such property for the safe and speedy through transportation thereof from point of shipment to destination; and such contract as to the shipper, owner or consignee of such property shall be deemed and held to be the contract of each of such common carriers; . . .
"For any damages for injury, or damage to, or loss, or delay of any freight, baggage or other property sustained anywhere in such through transportation over connecting lines, or either of them, as contemplated and defined in the next preceding section of this act, either of such connecting carriers which the person or persons sustaining such damages may first elect to sue in this State therefor, shall be held liable to such person or persons, and such carrier so held liable to such person or persons shall be entitled in a proper action to recover the amount of any loss, damage or injury it may be required to pay such person or persons from the carrier through whose negligence the loss, damage or injury was sustained, together with costs of suit."
In November, 1911, these provisions being in force, Glenn, the defendant in error, through an agent delivered to the Southern Railway Company at Chester, South Carolina, a carload of cattle for through shipment to Latta, South Carolina, on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. The Southern Railway accepted the cattle, issued
a bill of lading for their shipment to Latta over its own and its connecting lines, and transported them over its own line to Columbia, South Carolina, where they were by it delivered to and accepted by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company, by which company they were carried under the original bill of lading to Latta and there delivered to Glenn, the consignee. There was delay in the transit and to recover damages on account of resulting injury to the cattle Glenn brought this suit against the Atlantic Coast Line, alleging, conformably to the statute above quoted, that the Southern Railway in so far as the shipment involved was concerned, was the agent of the defendant, and consequently asserting a right to recover from the defendant damages resulting from the negligence of the Southern Railway or of the defendant or both. The defendant denied this right and sought to escape all liability by establishing that it had promptly transported and delivered the cattle after receiving them from the Southern Railway, that the delay, if any, had not occurred on its line, and that by virtue of the following provision of the contract of shipment defendant was not responsible for any delay occurring on the line of the Southern Railway:
"That the responsibility, either as common carrier or warehouseman, of each carrier over whose line the property shipped hereunder shall be transported shall cease as soon as delivery is made to the next carrier or to the consignee; and the liability of the said lines contracted with is several and not joint; neither of the said carriers shall be responsible or liable for any act, omission or negligence of the other carriers over whose lines said property is or is to be transported."
This defense was on motion of the plaintiff stricken by the court from the answer on the ground that the provision of the contract was void because in conflict with the statute which we ...