WESTERN UNION TEL. CO. V. CZIZEK, 264 U. S. 281 (1924)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Western Union Tel. Co. v. Czizek, 264 U.S. 281 (1924)

Western Union Telegraph Company v. Czizek

No. 300

Argued February 26, 27, 1924

Decided March 10, 1924

264 U.S. 281


1. A contract between a telegraph company and the sender of an unrepeated interstate message, on a form filed with and approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission, valued the message at $50.00 in default of any higher valuation specified by the sender and paid for at a higher rate, and relieved the company of liability beyond that sum for mistakes or delays in the transmission or delivery, or for the nondelivery of the message, caused by the negligence of its servants or otherwise. Held valid and applicable although the message was never transmitted, due to the inadvertence of a receiving clerk in filing it in the wrong place, and to subsequent mistaken assurances that it had been sent. P. 264 U. S. 284.

2. Qaere: whether this agreed limitation of liability would not have applied even if the failure to transmit had been attributable to gross negligence? P. 264 U. S. 285.

3. The reasonableness of such a limitation is determined as of the date of the contract, and not by later prospective rules of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Id.

4. Semble that another printed stipulation on the telegram limiting the company's liability for nondelivery, etc., of any unrepeated message to the amount received for sending it was invalid in this case. Id.

5. A stipulation on a telegram exempting the company from liability if claim is not presented in writing within sixty days after filing of the message for transmission held inapplicable where the filing of the message by the plaintiff's agent was unknown to the plaintiff during the sixty days, and where the plaintiff thereafter was diligent in presenting his claim. P. 264 U. S. 286.

286 F.4d 8 reversed.

Page 264 U. S. 282

Certiorari to a judgment of the circuit court of appeals affirming a judgment of the district court for the plaintiff Czizek in an action against the Telegraph Company for damages resulting from the failure to forward and deliver a telegram.

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