Plaintiff, a common carrier truck line, sought to recover charges from the United States for transportation of a delicate and expensive camera. The government counterclaimed for damages exceeding plaintiff's charges. The counterclaim was advanced by proof of the camera's delivery to plaintiff in good condition and its arrival in damaged condition. Plaintiff replied by showing that the damage was the consequence of defective packaging by a United States employee. Being unable to prove that, notwithstanding defective packaging, the damage proximately resulted from the carrier's negligence in handling the camera, the United States was denied its counterclaim and adjudged liable for transportation charges. On appeal to the Sixth Circuit, judgment was vacated and the case remanded. Held: Once a shipper has proved a prima facie case, the burden of proof shifts to and remains upon the carrier to show both that the cause of damage was not within the scope of carrier liability as an absolute insurer, and that there was no concurrent carrier negligence. Super Service Motor Freight Co. v. United States, 350 F.2d 541 (6th Cir. 1965).
The Effect of Presumption of Common Carrier Negligence Upon the Burden of Proof,
Wash. L. & Rev.
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