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Illinois Central R.R. Co. v. Crail

United States Supreme Court
281 U.S. 57 (1930)


Crail (plaintiff) bought a wholesale carload of coal weighing 88,700 pounds. Upon delivery, it was 5,500 pounds short. Crail brought suit against the transporter, Illinois Central R.R. Co. (Illinois) (defendant). The delivered coal was added to Crail’s coal stock for resale. Because Crail had sufficient coal already in stock, the shortage did not hinder his business. He did not replace the 5,500 pounds; he only continued to buy coal in wholesale carload lots similar to the purchased lot in question. These wholesale carload lots generally contained at least 60,000 pounds and cost $5.50 per ton plus freight. At the time the shipment of coal in question was delivered, the market price for coal sold at retail in less than carload lots was $13.00 per ton plus freight. Thus, because the missing amount of coal was less than a carload lot, if, as Crail wished, he was to be compensated in that amount, the cost would have been $13.00 per ton. The trial court found in favor of Crail, awarding him the retail market value of 5,500 pounds of coal. Illinois appealed.

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