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It cannot be successfully contended that it is part of the implied duty of a freight agent to have stock treated by a veterinary surgeon as an incident of the delivery by him of the shipment to a consignee. It is the duty of the freight agent to deliver the stock and to do anything necessary in the performance of this duty, but certainly it is not his duty to employ a veterinary surgeon to treat them before delivery; on the contrary, it is his duty to deliver the shipment as it came into his possession, and it is the duty of the consignee to receive the stock, even though in an injured or damaged condition.
After a shipment of mules arrived at their destination but before they were delivered to the consignees, one mule was found severely injured. The station agent employed a veterinarian to treat the mule and turned the mule over to the appellee liveryman for board and lodging while it was being treated. The appellee kept the mule for 300 days, during which time the receivers and then the Director General of Railroads operated the railroad. By his suit, appellee sought and recovered judgment against the receivers for the sum of $1 per day for the part of the 300 days they had charge of the railway, and against the appellant Director General of the Railroads for a like sum per day for the part of the 300 days the federal government had charge of it. The receivers and the Director General appealed, arguing that the trial court erroneously found that the station agent had the authority to bind them by a contract with the appellee.
Did the station agent have the authority to bind the receivers and the Director General by a contract with the appellee?
The court reversed the judgment of the trial court, holding that there was no implied duty of the agent to have the mule treated by a veterinarian as an incident of the delivery by him of the mule to the consignees. It was the consignee's duty to receive the mule even though it was injured. Similarly, the agent had no implied duty to arrange for the mule's boarding. Accordingly, the court held that the appellee was not entitled to recover anything from the appellant receivers and Director General.