Can a copy of a contract take precedent over another if it has omitted information? Posted on July 27, 2011

On to the questions - they pertains to contract law and civil litigation, specifically regarding binding contracts that SHOULD be identical in content but conflict with one another. Also, there is a question of incorporating additional language into the document after the document has been executed (after signatures applied by both parties.) This point of law would be handled in district court under the Carmack Amendment, 49 U.S.C. Section 14706 et seq. Significant damage occurred to a very expensive piece of freight, and the answers to my questions will be paramount in determining the carrier's liability for damages. The background and question one: A bill of lading was generated by a third party, an online freight broker. Two copies of the bill of lading were printed, one for me and one for the carrier. This BOL includes information to be filled in by hand, specifically a "declared value" of the shipment, and "special instructions." My copy of the BOL has a declared value, special shipping instructions, and the signatures of both parties at the time of receipt. The carrier's copy of the BOL does not list a declared value, yet has the signatures of both parties as well. (I just discovered this discrepancy after filing the damage claim.) The accusation of fraud or document tampering could be directed towards either party, as we both have vested interest in the contents of our respective documents. My contention is that, instead of fraud, information was unintentionally omitted from one of the documents. My question: is there clear precedent for which document would prevail as the authoritative copy?

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