Security Stove & Mfg. Co. v. American Railway Express Co.

Missouri Court of Appeals, Kansas City 51 S.W.2d572 (1932)

Facts

Security Stove & Mfg. Co. (Security) (plaintiff) manufactured a unique furnace equipped with a combination oil and gas burner. Security desired to ship the furnace from its office in Kansas City, Missouri to Atlantic City, New Jersey for the purpose of exhibiting the furnace at the American Gas Association Convention held in Atlantic City beginning October 11, 1926. On September 18, 1926, Security contacted American Ry. Express Co. (American) (defendant), a carrier, and requested American’s services in shipping the furnace to Atlantic City. Security informed American that the purpose of shipping the furnace was so it could be displayed at the Convention. Security stated that the furnace needed to arrive in Atlantic City no later than October 8th so it could be set up in time for the Convention’s October 11th start date. American agreed to this schedule, and picked up the furnace from Security on October 2nd. The furnace was packed in 21 separate boxes. American delivered the furnace to the booth Security reserved at the Convention in Atlantic City. When Security’s president arrived at the booth, however, he noticed that the most important box was missing. The equipment contained in this box could not be replaced in Atlantic City. American located the missing box and promised to ship it to Security’s president before the Convention ended. American failed to ship the box in time, however, and Security was unable to set up and exhibit the furnace at any point during the Convention. Security brought suit in Missouri state court against American, seeking damages for its expenses incurred in the course of attending and reserving a booth at the Convention. Security argued that it would not have incurred these expenses if it had not relied on American’s promise to ship the furnace to Atlantic City in time for the Convention. The trial court awarded damages to Security, and American appealed.

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