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  • Parrot v. Wells, Fargo & Co. (The Nitro-…Parrot v. Wells, Fargo & Co. (The Nitro-Glycerine Case)
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Parrot v. Wells, Fargo & Co. (The Nitro-Glycerine Case)

United States Supreme Court
82 U.S. 524 (1872)


An individual paid Wells, Fargo & Company (Wells, Fargo) (defendant) to ship a 329-pound crate full of nitroglycerine from New York to San Francisco. Neither Wells, Fargo nor any of its employees had knowledge of the crate’s contents. Moreover, little was known about the properties of nitroglycerine at the time. When the crate arrived at its destination, it was placed on the wharf. The contents were leaking. The crate was then taken to a Wells, Fargo building in town. As a representative of the ship company proceeded to open the crate with a mallet and chisel, the contents exploded, killing a number of individuals, injuring many others, and causing extensive damage to the building. Parrot (plaintiff), one of those injured in the blast, filed suit against Wells, Fargo to recover damages for the injuries he sustained. The district court held that Wells, Fargo was not liable. Parrot appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Field, J.)

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