B-243483, Jul 12, 1991, 91-2 CPD ***, Office of General Counsel

B-243483: Jul 12, 1991

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PROCUREMENT - Payment/Discharge - Shipment - Damages - Evidence sufficiency PROCUREMENT - Payment/Discharge - Shipment - Carrier liability - Burden of proof DIGEST: A carrier is not relieved of liability for in-transit damage to an item of household goods simply because the carrier was not able to inspect the damage. That the sofa was in the process of being repaired. You do not dispute that the sofa was damaged during transit. A carrier is not relieved of liability simply because it did not inspect the damage. Is inconsistent with the Hayes settlement.

B-243483, Jul 12, 1991, 91-2 CPD ***, Office of General Counsel

PROCUREMENT - Payment/Discharge - Shipment - Damages - Evidence sufficiency PROCUREMENT - Payment/Discharge - Shipment - Carrier liability - Burden of proof DIGEST: A carrier is not relieved of liability for in-transit damage to an item of household goods simply because the carrier was not able to inspect the damage.

Stevens Worldwide Van Lines, Inc.:

This responds to your February 29, 1991, appeal of our Claims Group's decision in Z-1348910-25, which involved the shipment of the household goods of Air Force member Leo B. Hayes.

Upon review of the record, we find no error of law or fact in the Claims Group's decision. The record shows that you did not pursue your inspection right upon learning, when you initially attempted to inspect the damage, that the sofa was in the process of being repaired. In any event, you do not dispute that the sofa was damaged during transit; as the Claims Group noted, a carrier is not relieved of liability simply because it did not inspect the damage.

Further, we do not agree that the Claims Group's January 10, 1991, settlement certificate in Z-1348910-21, which you furnished with your appeal, is inconsistent with the Hayes settlement. They both recognize a carrier's right to inspect and the rule that a failure to inspect does not absolve the carrier of liability for damage that in fact occurred in transit.