When Mr. Justice NELSON, in the New Jersey Steam Navigation Company v. Merchants Bank, speaking of the power of a common carrier by special agreement to restrict his obligation, said for the court: "We are unable to perceive any well founded objection to the restriction," he opened the way for an amount of litigation which, in volume and expense, both to carriers and shippers, scarcely finds its equal on any other question. The Supreme Court of North Carolina was well within the limit when it said: "The right of a common carrier to limit or diminish his general liability by a special contract has given rise to as much, if not more discussion and contrarities of opinion than any other question of law." Mr. SCHOULER, in his work on Bailments and Carriers, has well said: "The reports bear ample record of the unflagging perseverance with which the common carriers seek to make decreased responsibility to the public the price of affording to the public increased facilities of transportation; of his quickness in coaxing, entrapping, even coercing, his customers in accomplishing this furtherance of his own ends." The far reaching consequences of a single sentence in a judicial opinion, concerning what had generally been, and may still be, regarded as at best a doubtful question, can hardly be better exemplified than by the consequences flowing from the opinion of Mr. Justice NELSON, above referred to.
Goddard, Edwin C. "The Common Carrier's Liability." Mich. L. Rev. 8 (1910): 531-54.