LIABILITY OF FORWARDERS, etc.
Home Assizes - Cuvillier & Co. vs. Brown - The Plaintiffs in this action sought to recover the sum of £500, from the defendant, who is a Wharfinger, Forwarder, etc. of this city, under the following circumstances: Certain parties trading as commission merchants, under the style of W.C. Kelly & Co., lodged in Mr. Brown's warehouse 175 bbls. of pork, and took from him the usual receipt. The plaintiffs had allowed Kelly & Co. to draw upon them in Montreal to a certain amount having this and other warehouse receipts in their hands as security "for advances." After they received the receipts, they notified Mr. Brown of the circumstances, but before the letter reached him the pork had been shipped, as it appeared, to Kelly & Co.'s order, for Kingston. Mr. Brown, however, upon receipt of the plaintiff's notification, wrote in answer, that he had shipped the 175 bbls. of pork "for them." One of the firm of Kelly & Co. had in the meantime intercepted the pork at Kingston, and sold it in the name of Lynch & Co. to another party, in fraud of the plaintiffs. The real question was, so far as we were able from the confused manner in which the case was conducted to understand it, "whether the defendant was not aware, at the time he shipped the pork, of the plaintiff's claim upon it. If he was, then by sending it to the order of Kelly & Co., he had made himself liable to the plaintiffs. For the plaintiffs it was contended that his letter admitting that he had sent it "for them" was conclusive proof of that knowledge. For the defendant it was declared that the letter was written under a misapprehension of the fact; that "for them" did not necessarily mean "to them," and therefore was inconsistent with what at all events was the fact, that it was sent to Kelly & Co., though, as the defendant supposed, it would ultimately reach the plaintiff.
It was contended by plaintiffs, that the possession of the warehouse receipts, was according to the custom of merchants, evidence of the property in the goods being in the possessor, and therefore it was Mr. Brown's business, before he parted with the pork, to have obtained the receipt; by his neglecting to do so, had sent the plaintiff's property to parties who had no right to receive it, and made himself liable for their fraudulent disposal of it. His Lordship in his charge did not appear to conent in the plaintiff's argument upon this point to the extent it was urged, but left the case for the jury upon the question, whether the defendant knew, at the time he shipped the pork, that it belonged to the plaintiffs, and the letter, he thought, proved that fact too clearly; he did not see what other construction could, with any show of reason, be put upon it.
Verdict for plaintiff £500 damages. It was very evident, before the verdict was given, that neither party, if defeated, intended to be satisfied with the decision of the jury, but would carry it up to the court above. [Examiner]
p.3 The Chronicle of Saturday says: "We are sorry to learn that it has become necessary again to close the Lachine Canal, in consequence of some defect in one of the locks. The river boats passed through for the last time this season yesterday, we are told."