B-148271, JUL. 23, 1962

B-148271: Jul 23, 1962

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THE ORIGINAL GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING SHOWS THAT AT BEDFORD THE SHIPMENT WAS TENDERED TO AND ROUTED VIA ABC AIR FREIGHT CO. FOR TRANSPORTATION TO FLAGSTAFF AND THAT AT FLAGSTAFF THE SHIPMENT WAS DELIVERED TO THE CONSIGNEE BY WATSON BROS. THE SHIPMENT WAS PICKED UP AT ORIGIN BY DAVE'S MOTOR TRANSPORTATION CO. WHERE IT WAS TURNED OVER TO AMERICAN AIRLINES FOR TRANSPORTATION TO LOS ANGELES. THE SHIPMENT WAS TURNED OVER TO WATSON BROS. WAS IN ACCORD WITH CONDITION 1 ON THE BACK OF THE BILL OF LADING: "ON PRESENTATION OF THIS BILL OF LADING. PAYMENT WILL BE MADE TO THE LAST CARRIER UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFICALLY STIPULATED.'. IT WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE RECORD THEN SHOWED THAT WATSON BROS. WAS THE PROPER PARTY UNDER THE GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING CONTRACT TO CLAIM ANY ADDITIONAL TRANSPORTATION CHARGES ON THIS SHIPMENT AND WAS THE ONLY PARTY TO WHICH THE UNITED STATES WAS LIABLE.

B-148271, JUL. 23, 1962

TO ABC FREIGHT CO., INC.:

WE REFER AGAIN TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 5, 1962, AND EARLIER LETTER, FILE AB NO. 710734, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT CERTIFICATE DATED FEBRUARY 12, 1962 (OUR CLAIM NO. TK-717467). THE SETTLEMENT DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $1,139.74, THE BALANCE OF FREIGHT CHARGES DUE FOR TRANSPORTING A SHIPMENT OF 20 PIECES OF ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT WEIGHING 3,701 POUNDS FROM BEDFORD, MASSACHUSETTS, TO FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA, UNDER GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING NO. A-8200715, IN JUNE 1960.

THE ORIGINAL GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING SHOWS THAT AT BEDFORD THE SHIPMENT WAS TENDERED TO AND ROUTED VIA ABC AIR FREIGHT CO., INC., FOR TRANSPORTATION TO FLAGSTAFF AND THAT AT FLAGSTAFF THE SHIPMENT WAS DELIVERED TO THE CONSIGNEE BY WATSON BROS. TRANSPORTATION CO., INC. ACTUALLY, THE SHIPMENT WAS PICKED UP AT ORIGIN BY DAVE'S MOTOR TRANSPORTATION CO., APPARENTLY ABC'S AGENT, WHICH TRANSPORTED IT TO BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, WHERE IT WAS TURNED OVER TO AMERICAN AIRLINES FOR TRANSPORTATION TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. AT LOS ANGELES, THE SHIPMENT WAS TURNED OVER TO WATSON BROS., WHICH DELIVERED TO THE CONSIGNEE AT FLAGSTAFF.

WATSON BROS. RETAINED THE ACCOMPLISHED ORIGINAL BILL OF LADING AND BILLED AND COLLECTED FROM THE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION CHARGES OF $123.67, APPARENTLY REPRESENTING ONLY ITS PART (FOR THE SERVICE FROM LOS ANGELES TO FLAGSTAFF) OF THE TOTAL FREIGHT CHARGES APPLICABLE ON THE SHIPMENT. PAYMENT TO THE DELIVERING CARRIER, WATSON BROS., WAS IN ACCORD WITH CONDITION 1 ON THE BACK OF THE BILL OF LADING:

"ON PRESENTATION OF THIS BILL OF LADING, PROPERLY ACCOMPLISHED AND ATTACHED TO FREIGHT VOUCHER PREPARED ON THE AUTHORIZED GOVERNMENT FORM, TO THE OFFICE INDICATED ON THE FACE HEREOF, PAYMENT WILL BE MADE TO THE LAST CARRIER UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFICALLY STIPULATED.'

WHEN YOU LATER PRESENTED YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL NO. 710834 FOR $1,139.74, AS FOR THE BALANCE OF THE FREIGHT CHARGES ON THE SHIPMENT FROM BEDFORD TO FLAGSTAFF, IT WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE RECORD THEN SHOWED THAT WATSON BROS., WHICH HAD BEEN PAID CHARGES ON THE ORIGINAL BILL OF LADING, WAS THE PROPER PARTY UNDER THE GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING CONTRACT TO CLAIM ANY ADDITIONAL TRANSPORTATION CHARGES ON THIS SHIPMENT AND WAS THE ONLY PARTY TO WHICH THE UNITED STATES WAS LIABLE. AT THAT TIME YOU HAD NOT MET THE BURDEN, WHICH IS ON YOU AS ON ALL CLAIMANTS, TO FURNISH EVIDENCE CLEARLY AND SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHING YOUR CLAIM AND THE LEGAL LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE PAYMENT OF THAT CLAIM. 30 COMP. GEN. 340 (1951); SEE ALCOA S.S.CO. V. UNITED STATES, 338 U.S. 421 (1949). AS FAR AS THE GOVERNMENT IS CONCERNED, THE LAST CARRIER SHOWN TO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE TRANSPORTATION SERVICE IS THE PARTY ENTITLED TO PAYMENT FOR THE SERVICE. THE GOVERNMENT MADE NO CONTRACTUAL ARRANGEMENT TO REMIT THE APPLICABLE CHARGES TO YOUR COMPANY. IT WOULD SEEM TO BE THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE AIR FREIGHT FORWARDER TO CONTROL THE ACTION OF ITS AGENTS IN ORDER TO INSURE THAT ALL CHARGES BELIEVED TO BE DUE UNDER THE CONTRACT ARE COLLECTED AND PROPERLY DISTRIBUTED PURSUANT TO THE ARRANGEMENTS GOVERNING THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE CARRIERS IN THE ROUTE OF MOVEMENT.

YOUR COMPANY NOW FURNISHES WATSON BROS.- WAIVER DATED MAY 2, 1962, OF ANY "RIGHT, TITLE OR INTEREST TO ADVANCE CHARGES ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING A8200715, DATED 6-10-60," WITH THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT, IN EFFECT, THAT WATSON IS ENTITLED ONLY TO CHARGES FROM LOS ANGELES TO FLAGSTAFF. THIS WAIVER SERVES TO ESTABLISH YOUR LEGAL RIGHT TO THE BALANCE OF THE CHARGES ON THIS SHIPMENT AND, WITH THE OTHER PAPERS IN YOUR CLAIM, SUPPORTS A CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES FOR THE FREIGHT CHARGES ON THE BEDFORD TO LOS ANGELES SEGMENT OF THE TRANSPORTATION. THE COMPLICATIONS WHICH HAVE DEVELOPED TO DELAY COLLECTION OF THE TOTAL TRANSPORTATION CHARGES IN THIS INSTANCE POINT UP THE NEED FOR THE EXERCISE OF GREATER CARE GENERALLY BY FREIGHT FORWARDERS TO CONTROL THE HANDLING OF THE DOCUMENTS ESSENTIAL TO THE COLLECTION OF TRANSPORTATION CHARGES ON GOVERNMENT SHIPMENTS.

ON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD IN THIS CLAIM, WE HAVE AUTHORIZED OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION TO REVISE THE SETTLEMENT OF FEBRUARY 12, 1962, AND TO ALLOW YOU THE CLAIMED FREIGHT CHARGES ON THE BEDFORD TO LOS ANGELES SEGMENT OF THE TRANSPORTATION INVOLVED. NOTICE OF THE REVISED SETTLEMENT SHOULD REACH YOU IN DUE COURSE.