Transportation in General.
§ 62-200. Duty to transport household goods within a reasonable time.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any common carrier of household goods doing business in this State to omit or neglect to transport within a reasonable time any goods, merchandise or other articles of value received by it for shipment and billed to or from any place in this State, unless otherwise agreed upon between the carrier and the shipper, or unless the same be burned, stolen or otherwise destroyed, or unless otherwise provided by the Commission.
(b) Any common carrier violating any of the provisions of this section shall forfeit to the party aggrieved the sum of ten dollars ($10.00) for the first day and one dollar ($1.00) for each succeeding day of such unlawful detention or neglect, but the forfeiture shall not be collected for a period exceeding 30 days.
(c) In reckoning what is a reasonable time for such transportation, it shall be considered that such common carrier has transported household goods within a reasonable time if it has done so in the ordinary time required for transporting such articles by similar carriers between the receiving and shipping stations. The Commission is authorized to establish reasonable times for transportation by the various modes of carriage which shall be held to be prima facie reasonable, and a failure to transport within such times shall be held prima facie unreasonable. This section shall be construed to refer not only to delay in starting the household goods from the station where they are received, but to require the delivery at their destination within the time specified: Provided, that if such delay shall be due to causes which could not in the exercise of ordinary care have been foreseen or which were unavoidable, then upon the establishment of these facts to the satisfaction of the court trying the cause, the defendant common carrier shall be relieved from any penalty for delay in the transportation of household goods, but it shall not be relieved from the costs of such action. In all actions to recover penalties against a common carrier under this section, the burden of proof shall be upon such carrier to show where the delay, if any, occurred. The penalties provided in this section shall be in addition to the damages recoverable for failure to transport within a reasonable time.
(d) This section shall not apply to motor carriers of passengers. (Code, s. 1964; 1899, c. 164, s. 2, subsecs. 2, 7; 1903, c. 444; c. 590, s. 3; c. 693; 1905, c. 545; Rev., ss. 1094, 2631, 2632; 1907, cc. 217, 461; C.S., ss. 1053, 3515, 3516; 1933, c. 134, s. 8; 1941, c. 97; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1; 1995, c. 523, s. 11; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 742, s. 33; 1998-128, s. 9.)
§ 62-201. Freight charges to be at legal rates; penalty for failure to deliver to consignee on tender of same.
All common carriers doing business in this State shall settle their freight charges according to the rate stipulated in the bill of lading, provided the rate therein stipulated be in conformity with the classifications and rates made and filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission in the case of intrastate shipments, by which classifications and rates all consignees shall in all cases be entitled to settle freight charges with such carriers; and it shall be the duty of such common carriers to inform any consignee of the correct amount due for freight according to such classification and rates. Upon payment or tender of the amount due on any shipment which has arrived at its destination according to such classification and rates, such common carrier shall deliver the freight in question to the consignee. Any failure or refusal to comply with the provisions hereof shall subject such carrier so failing or refusing to liability for actual damages plus a penalty of fifty dollars ($50.00) for each such failure or refusal, to be recovered by any consignee aggrieved by a suit in a court of competent jurisdiction. Provided, however, that this section shall not apply to motor carriers of passengers. (1905, c. 330, s. 1; Rev., s. 2633; C.S., s. 3518; 1933, c. 134, s. 8; 1941, c. 97, s. 5; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1.)
§ 62-202. Baggage and freight to be carefully handled.
All common carriers shall handle with care all baggage and freight placed with them for transportation, and they shall be liable in damages for any and all injuries to the baggage or freight of persons from whom they have collected fare or charged freight while the same is under their control. Upon proof of injury to baggage or freight in the possession or under the control of any such carrier, it shall be presumed that the injury was caused by the negligence of the carrier. This section shall not apply to motor carriers of passengers. (1897, c. 46; Rev., s. 2624; C.S., s. 3523; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1.)
§ 62-203. Claims for loss or damage to goods; filing and adjustment.
(a) Every common carrier receiving household goods for transportation in intrastate commerce shall issue a bill of lading therefor, and shall be liable to the lawful holder thereof for any loss, damage, or injury to such household goods caused by it, or by any carrier participating in the haul when transported on a through bill of lading, and any such carrier delivering said household goods so received and transported shall be liable to the lawful holder of said bill of lading or to any party entitled to recover thereon for such loss, damage, or injury, notwithstanding any contract or agreement to the contrary; provided, however, the Commission may, by regulation or order, authorize or require any such common carrier to establish and maintain rates related to the value of shipments declared in writing by the shipper, or agreed upon as the release value of such shipments, such declaration or agreement to have no effect other than to limit liability and recovery to an amount not exceeding the value so declared or released, in which case, any tariff filed pursuant to such regulation or order shall specifically refer thereto; provided further, that a rate shall be afforded the shipper covering the full value of the goods shipped; provided further, that nothing in this section shall deprive any lawful holder of such bill of lading of any remedy or right of action which such holder has under existing law; provided further, that the carrier issuing such bill of lading, or delivering such household goods so received and transported, shall be entitled to recover from the carrier on whose route the loss, damage, or injury shall have been sustained the amount it may be required to pay to the owners of such property.
(b) Every claim for loss of or damage to household goods while in possession of a common carrier shall be adjusted and paid within 90 days after the filing of such claim with the agent of such carrier at the point of destination of such shipment, or point of delivery to another common carrier, by the consignee or at the point of origin by the consignor, when it shall appear that the consignee was the owner of the shipment: Provided, that no such claim shall be filed until after the arrival of the shipment, or some part thereof, at the point of destination, or until after the lapse of a reasonable time for the arrival thereof.
(c) In every case such common carrier shall be liable for the amount of such loss or damage, together with interest thereon from the date of the filing of the claim therefor until the payment thereof. Failure to adjust and pay such claim within the periods respectively herein prescribed shall subject each common carrier so failing to a penalty of fifty dollars ($50.00) for each and every such failure, to be recovered by any consignee aggrieved (or consignor, when it shall appear that the consignor was the owner of the property at the time of shipment and at the time of suit, and is, therefore, the party aggrieved), in any court of competent jurisdiction: Provided, that unless such consignee or consignor recover in such action the full amount claimed, no penalty shall be recovered, but only the actual amount of the loss or damage, with interest as aforesaid; and that no penalty shall be recoverable under the provisions of this section where claims have been filed by both the consignor and consignee, unless the time herein provided has elapsed after the withdrawal of one of the claims.
(d) A check shall be affixed to every parcel of baggage when taken for transportation by the agent or servant of a common carrier, if there is a handle, loop or fixture so that the same can be attached upon the parcel or baggage so offered for transportation, and a duplicate thereof given to the passenger or person delivering the same on his behalf. If such check be refused on demand, the common carrier shall pay to such passenger the sum of ten dollars ($10.00), to be recovered in a civil action; and further, no fare or toll shall be collected or received from such passenger, and if such passenger shall have paid his fare the same shall be refunded by the carrier.
(e) If a passenger, whose bag has been checked, shall produce the check and his baggage shall not be delivered to him, he may by an action recover the value of such baggage.
(f) Causes of action for the recovery of the possession of the property shipped, for loss or damage thereto, and for the penalties herein provided for, may be united in the same complaint.
(g) This section shall not deprive any consignee or consignor of any other rights or remedies existing against common carriers in regard to freight charges or claims for loss or damage to freight, but shall be deemed and held as creating an additional liability upon such common carriers.
(h) This section shall not apply to motor carriers of passengers and only subsection (a) of this section shall apply to motor carriers of property. (1871-2, c. 138, s. 36; Code, s. 1970; 1905, c. 330, ss. 2, 4, 5; Rev., ss. 2623, 2634, 2635; 1907, c. 983; 1911, c. 139; C.S., ss. 3510, 3524, 3525; 1947, c. 781; c. 1008, s. 27; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1; 1995, c. 523, s. 12.)
§ 62-204. Notice of claims, statute of limitations for loss, damage or injury to property.
Any claim for loss, damage or injury to property while in the possession of a common carrier shall be filed by the claimant with the carrier in writing within nine months after the same occurred, and the cause of action with respect thereto shall be deemed to have accrued at the expiration of 30 days after the date of such notice, and action for the recovery thereon may be commenced immediately thereafter or at any time within two years after notice in writing shall have been given to the claimant by the adverse party that the claim or any part thereof specified in such notice has been disallowed, and neither party shall by rule, regulation, contract, or otherwise, provide for a shorter time for filing such claims or for commencing actions thereon than the period set out in this section. Provided, however, that this section shall not apply to motor carriers of passengers. (1947, c. 1008, s. 21; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1.)
§ 62-205. Joinder of causes of action.
To expedite the settlement of claims between shippers and common carriers, a shipper may join in the same complaint against a common carrier any number of claims for overcharges, or a common carrier may join in the same complaint any number of claims against a shipper for undercharges, whether such claims arose at the same time or in the course of shipments at different times; provided, that each such claim shall be so identified that the same and the allegations with respect thereto may be distinguished from other claims so joined in the complaint, and in cases in which the right of subrogation may be invoked the judgment shall specify the amount of recovery, if any, on each such claim. For the purpose of jurisdiction under this section the aggregate amount set out in the complaint shall be deemed the sum in controversy. Provided, however, that this section shall not apply to motor carriers of passengers. (1947, c. 1008, s. 20; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1.)
§ 62-206. Carrier's right against prior carrier.
Any common carrier shall have all the rights and remedies herein provided for against a common carrier from which it received the household goods in question. Provided, however, that this section shall not apply to motor carriers of passengers. (1905, c. 330, s. 3; Rev., s. 2636; C.S., s. 3526; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1; 1995, c. 523, s. 13.)
§ 62-207: Repealed by Session Laws 1998-128, s. 13.
§ 62-208. Common carriers to settle promptly for cash-on-delivery shipments; penalty.
Every common carrier which shall fail to make settlement with the consignor of a cash-on-delivery shipment, either by payment of the moneys stipulated to be collected upon the delivery of the articles so shipped or by the return to such consignor of the article so shipped, within 20 days after demand made by the consignor and payment or tender of payment by him of the lawful charges for transportation, shall forfeit and pay to such consignor a penalty of twenty-five dollars ($25.00), where the value of the shipment is twenty-five dollars ($25.00) or less; and, where the value of the shipment is over twenty-five dollars ($25.00), a penalty equal to the value of the shipment; the penalty not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00) in any case: Provided, no penalty shall be collectible where the shipment, through no act of negligence of the common carrier is burned, stolen or otherwise destroyed: Provided further, that the penalties here named shall be cumulative and shall not be in derogation of any right the consignor may have under any other provision of law to recover of the common carrier damages for the loss of any cash-on-delivery shipment or for negligent delay in handling the same. Provided, however, that this section shall not apply to motor carriers of passengers. (1909, c. 866; C.S., s. 3530; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1.)
§ 62-209. Sale of unclaimed baggage or household goods; notice; sale of rejected property; escheat.
(a) Any common carrier which has had in its possession on hand at any destination in this State any article whether baggage or household goods, for a period of 60 days from its arrival at destination, which said carrier cannot deliver because unclaimed, may at the expiration of said 60 days sell the same at public auction at any point where in the opinion of the carrier the best price can be obtained: Provided, however, that notice of such sale shall be mailed to the consignor and consignee, by registered or certified mail, if known to such carrier, not less than 15 days before such sale shall be made; or if the name and address of the consignor and consignee cannot with reasonable diligence be ascertained by such carrier, notice of the sale shall be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in some newspaper of general circulation published at the point of sale: Provided, that if there is no such paper published at such point, the publication may be made in any paper having a general circulation in the State: Provided further, however, that if the nondelivery of said article is due to the consignee's and consignor's rejection of it, then such article may be sold by the carrier at public or private sale, and at such time and place as will in the carrier's judgment net the best price, and this without further notice to either consignee or consignor, and without the necessity of publication.
(b) Repealed by Session Laws 1995, c. 523, s. 14.
(c) The common carrier shall keep a record of the articles sold and of the prices obtained therefor, and shall, after deducting all charges and the expenses of the sale, including advertisement, if advertised, pay the balance to the owner of such articles on demand therefor made at any time within five years from the date of the sale. If no person shall claim the surplus within five years, such surplus shall be paid to the Escheat Fund of the Department of State Treasurer.
(d) This section shall not apply to motor carriers of passengers. (1871-2, c. 138, s. 50; Code, s. 1987; Rev., s. 2639; 1921, c. 124, ss. 1, 2, 3; C.S., s. 3534; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1; 1981, c. 531, s. 17; 1995, c. 523, s. 14.)
§ 62-210. Discrimination between connecting lines.
All common carriers subject to the provisions of this Chapter shall afford all reasonable, proper and equal facilities for the interchange of traffic between their respective lines and for the forwarding and delivering of passengers and freight to and from their several lines and those connecting therewith, and shall not discriminate in their rates, routes and charges against such connecting lines, and shall be required to make as close connection as practicable for the convenience of the traveling public. Common carriers shall obey all rules and regulations made by the Commission relating to trackage. Irregular route motor carriers shall interchange traffic only with the approval of the Commission. Provided, however, that this section shall not apply to motor carriers of passengers. (1899, c. 164, s. 21; Rev., s. 1088; C.S., s. 1107; 1933, c. 134, s. 8; 1935, c. 258; 1941, c. 97; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1.)
§ 62-211: Repealed by Session Laws 1995, c. 523, s. 15.
§ 62-212. Indemnity agreements in motor carrier transportation contracts.
(a) A provision, clause, covenant, or agreement contained in, collateral to, or affecting a motor carrier transportation contract that purports to indemnify, defend, or hold harmless, or has the effect of indemnifying, defending, or holding harmless the promisee from or against any liability for loss or damage resulting from the negligence or intentional acts or omission of the promisee is against the public policy of this State and is void and unenforceable.
(b) The following definitions apply in this section:
(1) Motor carrier transportation contract. - A contract, agreement, or understanding covering at least one of the following:
a. The transportation of property for compensation or hire by the motor carrier.
b. Entrance on property by the motor carrier for the purpose of loading, unloading, or transporting property for compensation or hire.
c. A service incidental to activity described in sub-subdivision a. or b. of this subdivision, including storage of property.
(2) Promisee. - The person with whom the motor carrier enters into a motor carrier transportation contract and any agents, employees, servants, or independent contractors who are directly responsible to that person, except for motor carriers party to a motor carrier transportation contract with the person, and the motor carrier's agents, employees, servants, or independent contractors directly responsible to the motor carrier.
(c) Nothing contained in this section affects a provision, clause, covenant, or agreement where the motor carrier indemnifies or holds harmless the contract's promisee against liability for damages to the extent that the damages were caused by and resulted from the negligence of the motor carrier, its agents, employees, servants, or independent contractors who are directly responsible to the motor carrier.
(d) Notwithstanding the other provisions contained in this section, the term "motor carrier transportation contract", as defined in this section, shall not include the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement administered by the Intermodal Association of North America, or other agreements providing for the interchange, use or possession of intermodal chassis, containers, trailers, or other intermodal equipment that contain substantially the same indemnity provision as the provision contained in the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement. (2005-185, s. 1; 2006-264, s. 45.5(a).)
§§ 62-213 through 62-219. Reserved for future codification purposes.