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"(B) All complaints against carriers for the recovery of damages not based on overcharges shall be filed with the Commission within two years from the time the cause of action accrues, and not after, subject to subdivision (D).

(C) For the recovery of overcharges action at law shall be begun or complaint filed with the Commission against carriers subject to this part within two years from the time the cause of action accrues, and not after, subject to subdivision (D), except that if claim for the overcharge has been presented in writing to the carrier within the two-year period of limitation said period shall be extended to include six months from the time notice in writing is given by the carrier to the claimant of disallowance of the claim, or any part or parts thereof, specified in the notice.

(D) If on or before expiration of the two-year period of limitation in subdivision (B) or the two-year period of limitation in subdivision (C) a carrier subject to this part begins action under subdivision (A) for recovery of charges in respect of the same transportation service, or, without beginning action, collects charges in respect of that service, said period of limitation shall be extended to include ninety days from the time such action is begun or such charges are collected by the carrier."

(b) The amendments made by subsection (a) of this section shall apply only to cases in which the cause of action may accrue on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Sec. 4. Paragraph (5) of subsection (f) of section 308 of the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended, is hereby repealed.

Sec. 5. Subsection (a) of section 406 of the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:

“(a) Any person complaining of anything done or omitted to be done by any freight forwarder, subject to the provisions of this part, in contravention of the provisions thereof, may apply to the Commission by petition, which shall briefly state the facts; whereupon a statement of the complaint thus made shall be forwarded by the Commission to such freight forwarder, who shall be called upon to satisfy the complaint, or to answer the same in writing, within a reasonable time, to be specified by the Commission. If such freight forwarder, within the time specified, shall make reparation for the injury alleged to have been done, the freight forwarder shall be relieved of liability to the complainant only for the particular violation of law thus complained of. If such freight forwarder shall not satisfy the complaint within the time specified, or there shall appear to be any reasonable ground for investigating said complaint, it shall be the duty of the Coinmission to investigate the matters complained of in such manner and by such means as it shall deem proper."

SEC. 6. Title IV of the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended, is hereby amended by inserting after section 406 thereof a new section as follows:

“Sec. 406a. (1) In case any freight forwarder subject to the provisions of this part shall do, cause to be done, or permit to be done any act, matter, or thing in this part prohibited or declared to be unlawful ,or shall omit to do any act, matter, or thing in this part required to be done, such freight forwarder shall be liable to the person or persons injured thereby for the full amount of damages sustained in consequence of any such violation of the provisions of this part, together with a reasonable counsel or attorney's fee, to be fixed by the court in every case of recovery, which attorney's fee shall be taxed and collected as part of the costs in the case.

(2) Any person or persons claiming to be damaged by any frieght forwarder subject to the provisions of this part may either make complaint to the Commission or may bring suit in his or their own behalf for the recovery of the damages for which such freight forwarder may be liable under the provisions of this part, in any district court of the United States of competent jurisdiction; but such person or persons shall not have the right to pursue both of said remedies.

“(3) If after hearing on a complaint, the Commission shall determine that any party complainant is entitled to an award of damages under the provisions of this part, for a violation thereof, the Commission shall make an order directing the freight forwarder to pay to the complainant the sum to which he is entitled on or before a day named.

“(4) If a freight forwarder does not comply with an order for the payment of money within the time limit in such order, the complainant, or any person for whose benefit such order was made, may file in the district court of the United States for the district in which he resides or in which is located the principal operating office of the freight forwarder, or in any State court of general jurisdiction having jurisdiction of the parties, a complaint setting forth briefly the causes for which he claims damages, and the order of the Commission in the premises. Such suit in the district court of the United States shall proceed in all respects like other civil suits for damages, except that on the trial of such suit the findings and order of the Commission shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein, and except that the plaintiff shall not be liable for costs in the district court nor for costs at any subsequent stage of the proceedings unless they accrue upon his appeal. If the plaintiff shall finally prevail he shall be allowed a reasonable attorney's fee, to be taxed and collected as a part of the costs of the suit.

(5) All actions at law by freight forwarders subject to this part for the recovery of their charges, or any part thereof, shall be begun within two years from the time the cause of action accrues, and not after..

“(6) All complaints against freight forwarders subject to this part for the recovery of damages not based on overcharges shall be filed with the Commission within two years from the time the cause of action accrues, and not after, subject to paragraph 8 of this section.

(7) For recovery of overcharges action at law shall be begun or complaint filed with the Commission against freight forwarders subject to this part within two years from the time the cause of action accrues, and not after, subject to paragraph (8) of this section, except that if claim for the overcharge has been presented in writing to the freight forwarder within the two-year period of limitation said period shall be extended to include six months from the time notice in writing is given by the freight forwarder to the claimant of disallowance of the claim, or any part or parts thereof, specified in the notice.

(8) If on or before expiration of the two-year period of limitation in paragraph (6) or of the two-year period of limitation in paragraph (7) a freight forwarder subject to this part begins action under paragraph (5) for recovery of charges in respect of the same service, or, without beginning action, collects charges in respect of that service, said period of limitation shall be extended to include ninety days from the time such action is begun or such charges are collected by the freight forwarder.

“(9) The cause of action in respect of a shipment of property shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to accrue upon delivery or tender of delivery thereof by the freight forwarder, and not after.

“(10) A complaint for the enforcement of an order of the Commission for the payment of money shall be filed in the district court or the State court within one year from the date of the order, and not after.

“(11) The term 'overcharges' as used in this section shall be deemed to mean charges for service in excess of those applicable thereto under the tariffs lawfully on file with the Commission.

"(12) The provisions of this section shall apply only to cases in which the cause of action may accrue on or after the date of the enactment of this section."

The CHAIRMAN. I have received the following report from the Interstate Commerce Commission in reply to my letter to the Commission requesting a report on H. R. 2324:

March 7, 1947. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR CHAIRMAN WOLVERTON: Your letter of March 4, addressed to the Chairman of the Commission and requesting a report and comment on H. R. 2324, introduced by you, to amend the Interstate Commerce Act with respect to the liability of common carriers by motor vehicle, common carriers by water, and freight forwarders for payment of damages to persons injured by them through violations of such act, has been referred to our legislative committee. After careful consideration by that committee I am authorized to submit the following comments in its behalf:

H. R. 2324 would add to the Interstate Commerce Act a number of new sections which would make common carriers by motor vehicle and by water and freight forwarders liable for the payment of damages to persons injured by them through violations of the act. At present this liability exists only in respect of carriers subject to parts I and III and certain carriers subject to the latter are exempt from the liability, as will be pointed out later.

When part II of the act was enacted as the Motor Carrier Act, 1935, it was believed that conditions in motor transportation were not stabilized and that the subjection of motor carriers to liability for damages should be deferred until the

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difficult initial problems in connection with the new regulation of those carriers had been more nearly worked out. Nearly 12 years have elapsed since the enactment of pait II, however, and the time now seems ripe for imposing such a liability. It has been generally assumed that motor carriers are subject to common-law liability for their wrongful acts, including the charging of unlawful rates, but it appears that common-law remedies have been invoked against these carriers very infrequently. Shippers familiar with the relatively simple remedy provided by section 16 of the act have recently urged that a similar remedy be made applicable to motor common carriers. We agree with that view.

Section 308 of the act, added by the Transportation Act of 1940, provides for payment of reparation by water carriers engaged in transportation subject to part III by way of the Panama Canal and common carriers by water "on the high seas or the Great Lakes on regular routes from port to port." Carriers by water on inland waterways, not being named in this section, are exempt. We see no reason for this exception, which is of very little practical importance. When carriers of this type participate in joint rates with rail carriers, as they generally do, they become subject to the liability imposed by section 16 of part İ. The exemption therefore extends only to their port-to-port transportation.

The limited experience under part IV so far has not shown any important need for a provision authorizing awards of reparation against freight forwarders. Nevertheless it seems desirable and logical that all four parts of the act be uniform in providing such a remedy, and the amendment of part IV here proposed therefore seems opportune.

H. R. 2324 would apply only to common carriers. We see no reason for including contract carriers either by motor vehicle or by water. At present the wording of section 308 (a) apparently subjects contract carriers by water by way of the Panama Canal to liability for damages, but there appears to be no good reason why they should be included.

H. R. 2324 closely follows the wording of sections 16 and 308, the present provisions of the act relating to reparation awards, with one exception. Section 308 (f) (1) provides that complaints for the recovery of damages or overcharges shall be filed with the Commission within 3 years from the time the cause of action accrues, and not after. The corresponding period in section 16 is 2 years, having been reduced from 3 years in 1940.

The difference between these two sections my have been due to inadvertence. In our opinion the period should be uniform as proposed in H. R. 2324. It has been suggested the period should be uniformly as long as 4 years, but in our opinion 2 years are ample.

We recommend that H. R. 2324 pass.
Respectfully submitted.

WALTER M. W. SPLAWN,
Chairman, Legislative Committee,

CHARLES D. MAHAFFIE,

John L. ROGERS. In addition to the above-quoted report on H. R. 2324 from the Interstate Commerce Commission, I have also received the following report from the Interstate Commerce Commission in reply to my letter to the Commission requesting a report on H. R. 2295, which reads as follows:

MARCH 10, 1947. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR CHAIRMAN WOLVERTON: Your letter of March 1, 1947, addressed to the Chairman of the Commission and requesting a report and comments on H. R. 2295, introduced by Congressman Lynch, to amend the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended, so as to provide limitations on the time within wbich actions may be brought for the recovery of undercharges and overcharges by or against common carriers by motor vehicle and freight forwarders, has been referred to our legislative committee. After careful consideration by that committee, I am authorized to submit the following comments in its behalf:

H. R. 2295 is identical in wording with S. 571, on which we reported to Chairman White of the Senate Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce Feb.

ruary 19, 1947. We are enclosing copies of that report and ask that they be received as our report on H. R. 2295, subject to a qualification stated in the next succeeding paragraph.

Since rendering our report on S. 571 you have introduced H. R. 2324 which includes provisions similar to those in H. Ř. 2295, but goes further in providing for the payment of damages by common carriers subject to parts II and III of the Interstate Commerce Act and freight forwarders subject to part IV of persons injured by them through violations of that act. We favor the enactment of H. R. 2324 and are so reporting to you. If that bill should be passed, H. R. 2295 would be superfluous, and we recommend favorable action on H. R. 2295 only upon the contingency that H. R. 2324 is not passed. Respectfully submitted.

WALTER M. W. SPLAWN. Chairman, Legislative Committee.

CHARLES D. MAHAFFIE.

- JOHN L. ROGERS. The report referred to which was sent to Senator White, chairman of the Senate Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, and which is the report submitted to this committee, also, reads as follows:

FEBRUARY 19, 1947. Hon. WALLACE H. WHITE, Jr., Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,

United States Senate, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR CHAIRMAN WHITE: Mr. Jarrett's letter of February 12, 1947. addressed to the Chairman of the Commission and requesting comments on S. 571, introduced by Senator Cordon, to amend the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended, so as to provide limitations on the time within which actions may be brought for the recovery of undercharges and overcharges by or against common carriers by motor vehicle and freight forwarders, has been referred to our legislative committee. After careful consideration by that committee I am authorized to submit the following comments in its behalf:

The remedy of common carriers for recovery of their charges on shipments of freight is a common-law action in the courts. Ordinarily such charges are prepaid by the shippers or collected by the carrier from the consignee upon delivery of the shipment. It happens not infrequently, however, that errors are made in the assessment of these charges. If the carrier fails to collect the full amount to which it is entitled, there arises what is commonly known as an undercharge, which carriers subject to the Interstate Commerce Act are under a legal duty to collect by suit, if necessary. Such suits by interstate motor carriers are subject to the statute of limitations of the particular state in which the action is brought, and there is a diversity of periods of limitation so fixed by the various States. One purpose of S. 571 is to provide a uniform period of limitation for such suits, which is clearly desirable.

On the other hand, when an interstate motor carrier collects from a shipper a charge in excess of that applicable to the transportation under a tariff lawfully on file with this Commission, the legal remedy of the shipper for the overcharge is likewise a common-law action in the courts. As to suits of this kind there is of course the same diversity of periods of limitations under the statutes of the various States, and it is equally desirable that this lack of uniformity be corrected, as proposed in S. 571.

The situation with respect to common carriers by motor vehicle described above also applies to freight forwarders subject to part Îy of the Interstate Commerce Act.

The bill would add a new section to part II of that act, No. 223a, and another to part IV, 414a, similar in effect and wording to section 16 (3), which governs suits by or against rail carriers and others subject to part I for recovery of undercharges or overcharges. There is an important difference between section 16 (3) and the proposed new sections; however, in that the period fixed in the latter for beginning actions would be 3 years instead of 2 years. In 1940 Congress amended section 16 (3) by reducing the corresponding period from 3 :tars to 2 years.

In our opinion that change was highly desirable, and we see no reason for fixing a longer period in the case of motor carriers and freight forwarders. We therefore recommend the following amendments to S. 571: In lines 1 and 5 of page 2 and lines 14 and 17 of page 3 substitute "two” for “three"; in lines 8 and 13 of page 2, in line 21 of page 3, and in line 1 of page 4 substitute “two-year" for “three-year.

With these changes we recommend that S. 571 pass.
Respectfully submitted.

WALTER M. W. SPLAWN,
Chairman Legislative Committee,

CHARLES D. MAHAFFIE. The CHAIRMAN. The first witness to be heard will be Mr. Estes, vice chairman, legislative committee, National Industrial Traffic League.

STATEMENT OF F. F. ESTES, VICE CHAIRMAN, LEGISLATIVE COM

MITTEE, NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL TRAFFIC LEAGUE, WASHINGTON, D. C.

Mr. Estes. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, my name is F. F. Estes, and I appear before your committee as vice chairman of the legislative committee of the National Industrial Traffic League in endorsement of H. R. 2324.

The National Industrial Traffic League, as its name implies, is a national organization of shippers and receivers of freight embracing in its membership individual shippers and representatives of shippers such as various types of associations, chambers of commerce, and so forth, which shippers utilize each and all of the various transportation agencies including the railways, motor highway carriers, water carriers, and freight forwarders. For the record, I might say that I am traffic manager of the National Coal Association—a Nation-wide organization representing producers of bituminous coal, and also executive secretary of the Coal Exporters Association of the United States, Inc., which is the national organization of coal exporters.

I would like to explain that I am not a lawyer, and this is somewhat of a legal bill.

The National Industrial Traffic League long ago went on record officially by a vote of its members in annual meeting in favor of a uniform statutory period of limitation covering overcharges, undercharges and reparations for all four parts of the Interstate Commerce Act; and that position has been reaffirmed at each annual meeting of the league, including that held in New York City in November 1946, which was attended by over 659 members.

In our opinion, no justifiable reason can be advanced for any inconsistency in such statutory period as between the various types of carriers, and it is the considered judgment of the league that this statutory period should be established as 2 years, as now provided in section 16, part I, of the Interstate Commerce Act with respect to shipments via rail carriers,

Part II of the act which deals with motor highway carriers at present contains no statutory period for the filing of such claims, nor does it contain any provision with respect to reparations. Part III of the act covering water carriers provides for a statutory period of 3 years, but this 3-year period applies to the shipper who wants to file a claim for overcharges, and there is no statutory period where the water carrier is to file a claim for undercharges. So that in those cases we go back to the State statutes and court action is required.

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