G.R. No. L-28673. October 23, 1984 (Case Brief / Digest)

**Title:** Samar Mining Company, Inc. v. Nordeutscher Lloyd & C.F. Sharp & Company, Inc.


1. **Importation:** Samar Mining Company, Inc. (plaintiff-appellee) imported one crate of Optima welded wedge wire sieves through the M/S Schwabenstein, a vessel owned by Nordeutscher Lloyd (defendant-appellant) and represented in the Philippines by its agent, C.F. Sharp & Company, Inc.

2. **Shipment and Bill of Lading:** The shipment was covered by Bill of Lading No. 18 issued to Samar Mining Company, Inc. The bill stipulated that the port of loading was Bremen, Germany, while the port of discharge was Manila, and the final destination was Davao.

3. **Delivery in Manila:** Upon arrival at the port of Manila, the goods were unloaded in good condition and delivered to the bonded warehouse of AMCYL for transshipment to Davao.

4. **Non-delivery in Davao:** The goods were never delivered to or received by the plaintiff at the port of destination, Davao.

5. **Demand and Non-payment:** Samar Mining sent letters of complaint to the defendants, which elicited no response. Consequently, they filed a claim for P1,691.93 (equivalent to $424.00), which was unfunded.

6. **Legal Action:** Samar Mining filed a suit to enforce payment for the lost goods.

7. **Third-Party Inclusion:** Defendants included AMCYL as a third-party defendant. The trial court found defendants liable and ordered them to pay, but also allowed for recoupment from AMCYL.

8. **Appeal:** Only the defendants appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.


1. **Bill of Lading Stipulations:** Whether the Bill of Lading’s stipulations exempt the carrier from liability for loss after delivering the goods to a third-party warehouse.
2. **Carrier’s Liability:** The extent of liability of the carrier and its agent under the Bill of Lading.
3. **Actual Delivery:** Whether actual delivery to AMCYL constitutes fulfillment of the carrier’s obligations.

**Court’s Decision:**

1. **Bill of Lading Examination:** The Court reviewed Bill of Lading No. 18, emphasizing the stipulation that the carrier’s responsibility ceases upon delivery to a third party for transshipment. The provisions clearly stated the role of the carrier as an agent for transshipment once goods were discharged at Manila.

2. **Validity of Exemption Clause:** Relying on precedent (Phoenix Assurance Co., Ltd. vs. United States Lines) and legal principles, the Court upheld the validity of stipulations in the Bill of Lading exempting the carrier from liability post-delivery to a third party.

3. **Actual Delivery:** The Court ruled that there was actual delivery from the carrier to AMCYL when the goods were transferred for transshipment. AMCYL held the goods in the capacity of the consignee’s agent, absolving the carrier of further liability.

4. **Agency and No Liability:** The Court found no evidence of negligence, deceit, or fraud by the carrier or its agent, stating that the carrier acted within the scope of its contractual obligations. Therefore, as an agent, the carrier was not liable for the loss incurred during the possession by AMCYL.


1. **Carrier Liability Post-Delivery:** Carriers can limit their liability through contractual stipulations, valid under Philippine law, where they act as agents post-delivery for transshipment purposes.
2. **Actual Delivery & Agency:** Delivery to an agent (during transshipment) constitutes delivery to the consignee, altering the carrier’s legal responsibility.

**Class Notes:**

– **Elements of Carrier Liability:** Understanding the contractual scope and stipulations in Bills of Lading.
– **Article 1736, Civil Code:** Carrier responsibility ceases upon actual or constructive delivery to the consignee or rightful recipient.
– **Agency Principles in Contracts:** An agent complying with instructions without negligence, deceit, or fraud is not liable for loss (Articles 1884, 1889, 1909, Civil Code).

**Historical Background:**

This case provides insight into the evolution of maritime law in the Philippines, particularly regarding carrier liability and the legal treatment of Bills of Lading. The recognition and enforcement of contractual stipulations concerning transportation and transshipment reflect global maritime practices, showcasing the integration of national and international legal norms. The decision demonstrates the judiciary’s role in balancing contractual freedom against the protection of commercial parties in maritime transport.


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