Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 8.7. Commercial Code -- Warehouse Receipts, Bills of Lading and Other Documents of Title

Part 3. Bills of Lading: Special Provisions.

§ 8.7-301. Liability for nonreceipt or misdescription; "said to contain"; "shipper's load and count"; improper handling.

(1) A consignee of a nonnegotiable bill of lading who has given value in good faith, or a holder to whom a negotiable bill has been duly negotiated, relying upon the description therein of the goods, or upon the date therein shown, may recover from the issuer damages caused by the misdating of the bill or the nonreceipt or misdescription of the goods, except to the extent that the bill indicates that the issuer does not know whether any part or all of the goods in fact were received or conform to the description, as where the description is in terms of marks or labels or kind, quantity, or condition or the receipt or description is qualified by "contents or condition of contents of packages unknown," "said to contain," "shipper's weight, load and count" or the like, if such indication be true.

(2) When goods are loaded by an issuer of a bill of lading, the issuer must count the packages of goods, if shipped in packages, and ascertain the kind and quantity if shipped in bulk. In such cases "shipper's weight, load and count" or other words indicating that the description was made by the shipper are ineffective except as to goods concealed by packages.

(3) When bulk goods are loaded by a shipper who makes available to the issuer of a bill of lading adequate facilities for weighing such goods, the issuer must ascertain the kind and quantity within a reasonable time after receiving, in a record, the shipper's request to do so. In such cases "shipper's weight" or other words of like purport are ineffective.

(4) The issuer of a bill of lading, by inserting in the bill the words "shipper's weight, load and count" or other words of like purport, may indicate that the goods were loaded by the shipper; and if such statement is true, the issuer shall not be liable for damages caused by the improper loading. However, their omission does not imply liability for such damages.

(5) The shipper shall be deemed to have guaranteed to the issuer the accuracy at the time of shipment of the description, marks, labels, number, kind, quantity, condition and weight, as furnished by him; and the shipper shall indemnify the issuer against damage caused by inaccuracies in such particulars. The right of the issuer to such indemnity shall in no way limit his responsibility and liability under the contract of carriage to any person other than the shipper.

1964, c. 219; 2004, c. 200.

§ 8.7-302. Through bills of lading and similar documents.

(1) The issuer of a through bill of lading or other document embodying an undertaking to be performed in part by persons acting as its agents or by a performing carrier is liable to anyone entitled to recover on the document for any breach by such other persons or by a performing carrier of its obligation under the document. However, to the extent that the document covers an undertaking to be performed overseas or in territory not contiguous to the continental United States or an undertaking including matters other than transportation, this liability may be varied by agreement of the parties.

(2) Where goods covered by a through bill of lading or other document embodying an undertaking to be performed in part by persons other than the issuer are received by any such person, he is subject, with respect to his own performance while the goods are in his possession, to the obligation of the issuer. His obligation is discharged by delivery of the goods to another such person pursuant to the document, and does not include liability for breach by any other such persons or by the issuer.

(3) The issuer of such through bill of lading or other document shall be entitled to recover from the performing carrier, or such other person in possession of the goods when the breach of the obligation under the document occurred, (a) the amount it may be required to pay to anyone entitled to recover on the document therefor, as may be evidenced by any receipt, judgment, or transcript thereof, and (b) the amount of any expense reasonably incurred by it in defending any action brought by anyone entitled to recover on the document therefor.

Code 1950, §§ 56-120, 56-121; 1964, c. 219; 2004, c. 200.

§ 8.7-303. Diversion; reconsignment; change of instructions.

(1) Unless the bill of lading otherwise provides, the carrier may deliver the goods to a person or destination other than that stated in the bill or may otherwise dispose of the goods, without liability for misdelivery, on instructions from:

(a) the holder of a negotiable bill; or

(b) the consignor on a nonnegotiable bill notwithstanding contrary instructions from the consignee; or

(c) the consignee on a nonnegotiable bill in the absence of contrary instructions from the consignor, if the goods have arrived at the billed destination or if the consignee is in possession of the tangible bill or in control of the electronic bill; or

(d) the consignee on a nonnegotiable bill if he is entitled as against the consignor to dispose of them.

(2) Unless such instructions are noted on a negotiable bill of lading, a person to whom the bill is duly negotiated can hold the bailee according to the original terms.

1964, c. 219; 2004, c. 200.

§ 8.7-304. Bills of lading in a set.

(1) Except where customary in overseas transportation, a bill of lading must not be issued in a set of parts. The issuer is liable for damages caused by violation of this subsection.

(2) Where a bill of lading is lawfully drawn in a set of parts, each of which is numbered and expressed to be valid only if the goods have not been delivered against any other part, the whole of the parts constitute one bill.

(3) Where a bill of lading is lawfully issued in a set of parts and different parts are negotiated to different persons, the title of the holder to whom the first due negotiation is made prevails as to both the document and the goods even though any later holder may have received the goods from the carrier in good faith and discharged the carrier's obligation by surrender of his part.

(4) Any person who negotiates or transfers a single part of a bill of lading drawn in a set is liable to holders of that part as if it were the whole set.

(5) The bailee is obliged to deliver in accordance with part 4 of this title against the first presented part of a bill of lading lawfully drawn in a set. Such delivery discharges the bailee's obligation on the whole bill.

1964, c. 219.

§ 8.7-305. Destination bills.

(1) Instead of issuing a bill of lading to the consignor at the place of shipment a carrier, at the request of the consignor, may procure the bill to be issued at destination or at any other place designated in the request.

(2) Upon request of anyone entitled as against the carrier to control the goods while in transit and on surrender of any outstanding bill of lading or other receipt covering such goods, the issuer, subject to § 8.7-105.1, may procure a substitute bill to be issued at any place designated in the request.

1964, c. 219; 2004, c. 200.

§ 8.7-306. Altered bills of lading.

An unauthorized alteration or filling in of a blank in a bill of lading leaves the bill enforceable according to its original tenor.

1964, c. 219.

§ 8.7-307. Lien of carrier.

(1) A carrier has a lien on the goods covered by a bill of lading or on the proceeds thereof in his possession for charges subsequent to the date of its receipt of the goods for storage or transportation (including demurrage and terminal charges) and for expenses necessary for preservation of the goods incident to their transportation or reasonably incurred in their sale pursuant to law. However, against a purchaser for value of a negotiable bill of lading, a carrier's lien is limited to charges stated in the bill, or, if no charges are stated, a reasonable charge.

(2) A lien for charges and expenses under subsection (1) on goods that the carrier was required by law to receive for transportation is effective against the consignor or any person entitled to the goods unless the carrier had notice that the consignor lacked authority to subject the goods to such charges and expenses. Any other lien under subsection (1) is effective against the consignor and any person who permitted the bailor to have control or possession of the goods unless the carrier had notice that the bailor lacked such authority.

(3) A carrier loses his lien on any goods that he voluntarily delivers or unjustifiably refuses to deliver.

Code 1950, §§ 61-30 to 61-35; 1964, c. 219; 2004, c. 200.

§ 8.7-308. Enforcement of carrier's lien.

(1) A carrier's lien may be enforced by public or private sale of the goods, in bloc or in parcels, at any time or place and on any terms which are commercially reasonable, after notifying all persons known to claim an interest in the goods. Such notification must include a statement of the amount due, the nature of the proposed sale and the time and place of any public sale. The fact that a better price could have been obtained by a sale at a different time or in a different method from that selected by the carrier is not of itself sufficient to establish that the sale was not made in a commercially reasonable manner. If the carrier either sells the goods in the usual manner in any recognized market therefor or if he sells at the price current in such market at the time of his sale or if he has otherwise sold in conformity with commercially reasonable practices among dealers in the type of goods sold he has sold in a commercially reasonable manner. A sale of more goods than apparently necessary to be offered to ensure satisfaction of the obligation is not commercially reasonable except in cases covered by the preceding sentence.

(2) Before any sale pursuant to this section any person claiming a right in the goods may pay the amount necessary to satisfy the lien and the reasonable expenses incurred under this section. In that event the goods must not be sold, but must be retained by the carrier subject to the terms of the bill and this title.

(3) The carrier may buy at any public sale pursuant to this section.

(4) A purchaser in good faith of goods sold to enforce a carrier's lien takes the goods free of any rights of persons against whom the lien was valid, despite noncompliance by the carrier with the requirements of this section.

(5) The carrier may satisfy his lien from the proceeds of any sale pursuant to this section but must hold the balance, if any, for delivery on demand to any person to whom he would have been bound to deliver the goods.

(6) The rights provided by this section shall be in addition to all other rights allowed by law to a creditor against his debtor.

(7) A carrier's lien may be enforced in accordance with either subsection (1) or the procedure set forth in subsection (2) of § 8.7-210.

(8) The carrier is liable for damages caused by failure to comply with the requirements for sale under this section and in case of willful violation is liable for conversion.

Code 1950, §§ 56-126, 56-127, 61-36; 1964, c. 219.

§ 8.7-309. Duty of care; contractual limitation of carrier's liability.

(1) A carrier who issues a bill of lading, whether negotiable or nonnegotiable, must exercise the degree of care in relation to the goods that a reasonably careful man would exercise under like circumstances. This subsection does not repeal or change any law or rule of law that imposes liability upon a common carrier for damages not caused by its negligence.

(2) Damages may be limited by a provision that the carrier's liability shall not exceed a value stated in the document if the carrier's rates are dependent upon value and the consignor is afforded an opportunity to declare a higher value and he is otherwise advised of such opportunity. However, no such limitation is effective with respect to the carrier's liability for conversion to his own use.

(3) Reasonable provisions as to the time and manner of presenting claims and instituting actions based on the shipment may be included in a bill of lading or a transportation agreement.

1964, c. 219; 2004, c. 200.

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