B-135724, JUN. 17, 1958

B-135724: Jun 17, 1958

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FOR A SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WHICH WAS DESTROYED BY FIRE WHILE IN TRANSIT. WAS TENDERED TO COMPANIA CUBANA DE AVIACION. THE DESTINATION WAS HAVANA. THE GOODS WERE TO BE DELIVERED AT DESTINATION IN LIKE GOOD ORDER AND CONDITION TO THE CONSIGNEE. THE CONSIGNEE'S CERTIFICATE OF DELIVERY ON THE BILL OF LADING WAS SIGNED BY THE CONSIGNEE WITH THE QUALIFICATION "/SEE OTHER SIDE).'. IT IS STATED IN A LETTER OF MARCH 11. WHICH IS A PART OF THE RECORD HERE. THE RECORD DISCLOSES FURTHER THAT THE CARRIER HAS ALLEGED THAT THE GOODS WERE TRANSPORTED SAFELY AND DELIVERED TO THE PUBLIC WAREHOUSE COMPANY IN HAVANA. THAT THE GOODS WERE NOT IN ITS (THE CARRIER-S) CUSTODY WHEN THEY WERE DESTROYED BY FIRE.

B-135724, JUN. 17, 1958

TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL:

BY LETTER OF MARCH 31, 1958, FILE REFERENCE A7, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL REQUESTED OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU SHOULD PAY $302.16, ON THE VOUCHER ENCLOSED, TO THE COMPANIA CUBANA DE AVIACION, S.A., FOR A SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WHICH WAS DESTROYED BY FIRE WHILE IN TRANSIT.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT A SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, WEIGHING 7,554 POUNDS, BELONGING TO MR. WILLIAM R. WALDMAN, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, WAS TENDERED TO COMPANIA CUBANA DE AVIACION, S.A., AT MIAMI, FLORIDA, ON AUGUST 3, 1956, UNDER GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING J-465153, ISSUED BY JOSEPH SAVORETTI, DISTRICT DIRECTOR. THE BILL OF LADING, SIGNED BY AN AGENT OF THE CARRIER, HAD THE FOLLOWING TYPEWRITTEN NOTATIONS:

"HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF MR. WILLIAM R. WALDMAN TO BE SHIPPED FROM MIAMI, FLORIDA TO HAVANA, CUBA. SHIPMENT TO BE HELD AT POINT OF ARRIVAL AND IMMIGRATION OFFICE TO BE NOTIFIED OF ARRIVAL.

"INITIAL CARRIER'S AGENT, BY SIGNATURE BELOW CERTIFIES THAT HE RECEIVED THE ORIGINAL OF THIS DOCUMENT.

"PARTIAL SHIPMENT - BALANCE ON B/L NO. 465154.' THIS BILL OF LADING SHOWED THE CONSIGNEE AS MR. WILLIAM R. WALDMAN, C/O IMMIGRATION AND NATZ. SERVICE, AMERICAN EMBASSY, APARTADO 2229, HAVANA, CUBA, AND THE DESTINATION WAS HAVANA, CUBA. THE GOODS WERE TO BE DELIVERED AT DESTINATION IN LIKE GOOD ORDER AND CONDITION TO THE CONSIGNEE. THE CONSIGNEE'S CERTIFICATE OF DELIVERY ON THE BILL OF LADING WAS SIGNED BY THE CONSIGNEE WITH THE QUALIFICATION "/SEE OTHER SIDE).' IT IS STATED IN A LETTER OF MARCH 11, 1958, FROM THE AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, WHICH IS A PART OF THE RECORD HERE, THAT THE REVERSE SIDE OF THE BILL OF LADING (NOT SUBMITTED WITH THE RECORD) HAS THE FOLLOWING NOTE: "ENTIRE SHIPMENT DESTROYED BY FIRE AUGUST 5, 1956. CHECK IN THE AMOUNT OF SIX-THOUSAND DOLLARS ($6,000.00) ACCEPTED IN LIEU OF EFFECTS DESTROYED.'

THE RECORD DISCLOSES FURTHER THAT THE CARRIER HAS ALLEGED THAT THE GOODS WERE TRANSPORTED SAFELY AND DELIVERED TO THE PUBLIC WAREHOUSE COMPANY IN HAVANA, WHICH RECEIVES ALL FREIGHT FLOWN FROM THE UNITED STATES INTO CUBA; THAT THE GOODS WERE NOT IN ITS (THE CARRIER-S) CUSTODY WHEN THEY WERE DESTROYED BY FIRE; THAT THE CARRIAGE OF THE GOODS WAS COMPLETED WHEN DELIVERY WAS MADE TO THE WAREHOUSE COMPANY IN HAVANA; AND THAT ALTHOUGH THE CONSIGNEE DID NOT RECEIVE THE GOODS NOR INSURE THE GOODS FOR SHIPMENT, HE ACCEPTED $6,000 FROM THE WAREHOUSE COMPANY FOR THE GOODS DESTROYED BY FIRE.

UNDER THE GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING, DELIVERY OF THE SHIPMENT IS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO LIABILITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF FREIGHT CHARGES. ALCOA STEAMSHIP CO., INC. V. UNITED STATES, 223 F.2D 466. SINCE THE CARRIER DID NOT COMPLETE THE CONTRACT OF CARRIAGE BY SAFELY DELIVERING THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO THE CONSIGNEE, WILLIAM R. WALDMAN AT HAVANA, CUBA, THE DESTINATION NAMED IN THE BILL OF LADING, THE CARRIER IS NOT ENTITLED TO RECEIVE, NOR IS THE GOVERNMENT LIABLE FOR, PAYMENT OF THE FREIGHT CHARGES. SEE 35 COMP. GEN. 526.

THE SETTLEMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $6,000 PAID TO THE CONSIGNEE BY THE PUBLIC WAREHOUSE COMPANY FOR THE LOSS OF THE GOODS DESTROYED BY FIRE DOES NOT ENTITLE THE CARRIER TO FREIGHT CHARGES, SINCE IT DOES NOT ALTER OR CHANGE THE CONTRACT OF THE CARRIER TO TRANSPORT THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND DELIVER THEM TO THE CONSIGNEE AT DESTINATION, HAVANA, CUBA. SEE 6 COMP. GEN. 698; 30 ID. 348.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE CONTRACT FOR THE CARRIAGE OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND DELIVERY THEREOF TO THE CONSIGNEE AT HAVANA, CUBA, WAS NOT COMPLETED BY ACTUAL DELIVERY TO THE CONSIGNEE BY THE CARRIER, THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT LIABLE FOR THE FREIGHT CHARGES, AND PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHER SHOULD BE DENIED.

THE "PUBLIC VOUCHER FOR TRANSPORTATION CHARGES," DESIGNATED AS CARRIER'S BILL NO. 2-500, IS THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT AND, THEREFORE, IS RETURNED. THE PAPERS SUPPORTING THE VOUCHER ARE ALL COPIES AND ARE NOT RETURNED, SINCE IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE ORIGINALS, OR OTHER COPIES, ARE IN THE POSSESSION OF THE CERTIFYING OFFICER.