2005 Transportation and Contractual Decisions
These 4 Board decisions involve a carrier's dispute over whether it is liable for transit loss or damage. They also include all kinds of quasi-contractual disputes which are settled under Section 3702 of title 31 of the United States Code. They do not include requests by carriers for review of the General Services Administration's transportation audit; the General Services Administration Board of Contract Appeals reviews such matters.
A compromise offer of settlement is not binding on the service unless accepted by the carrier. If the offer is not accepted by the carrier, the service may set off the full amount of the carrier's contractual liability, whether or not it exceeds the amount of the proposed compromise. When a carrier timely invokes its rights to inspection and the member has items repaired before the carrier has the opportunity to inspect, the carrier must have a substantial defense involving facts discoverable by inspection of the specific items to overcome a prima facie case of liability. Where the carrier does not provide clear and convincing evidence of a substantial defense, the carrier remains liable for the damage.
Where a carrier offers no rationale as to why or how a consideration of the various assertions it lists in its reconsideration request would result in a different outcome in the case, we are not permitted to guess as to possible theories of recovery that the carrier may have had. The theory of recovery must be reasonably clear.
1. As the last custodian of the shipment, a carrier removing goods from nontemporary storage without inventorying it (or preparing a rider or exception sheet), will be presumed liable for any damage. 2. When a case of prima facie liability has been established with regard to shipment of household goods, the carrier is liable unless he presents sufficient evidence to rebut liability. 3. A carrier can be charged with damage even when incorrect item numbers are listed on the notice of loss or damage.
A shipper offers sufficient proof of prima facie liability against a carrier for damage to an electrical appliance when he offers evidence that the appliance was in good working order prior to tender to the carrier and the nature of the internal damage is consistent with its having been mishandled or dropped, e.g., physical damage to otherwise sturdy components.