All claims, charges, or demands against a railroad for loss of or damage to property occurring while in the custody of such railroad and unreasonable delay in transportation and delivery, for overcharges upon a shipment, or for any other service in violation of Chapters 4901., 4903., 4905., 4907., and 4909. of the Revised Code, if not paid within sixty days from the date of the filing thereof with such railroad, may be submitted to the public utilities commission by a formal complaint. Such complaint shall be made upon blank forms which the commission shall provide upon demand of the claimant.
Such complaint shall be verified as petitions in civil actions and may be accompanied by the sworn statements of any witnesses who have knowledge of any fact material to the inquiry. Upon the filing of such complaint the commission shall forthwith cite the railroad to answer the complaint, and the citation shall be accompanied with a brief statement of the claim. The answer of the railroad shall be filed within three weeks from the service of the citation and shall be verified as answers in civil cases, and may be accompanied with the affidavits of any witnesses having knowledge of facts material to the inquiry.
The burden of proof shall be upon the railroad to show that loss or damage to property was not due to its negligence. The railroad to which property is delivered for shipment shall prima facie be liable for loss or damage occurring to such property in transit notwithstanding such property may be delivered to other railroads before reaching its destination. The claim referred to in this section for loss of or damage to property may be made to any carrier over whose lines the lost or damaged property was consigned, and such claimant may at the claimant's option join all of such railroads as parties defendant in the complaint before said commission. The railroad shall furnish the claimant with a copy of its answer and affidavits, and within two weeks from the filing of such answers the claimant may file a reply, with affidavits in support thereof, verified as replies in civil cases. At the expiration of said period of two weeks the commission shall proceed summarily to examine the complaint, answer, reply, and affidavits, and shall determine the existence and validity of the claim presented. If the commission finds in favor of the claimant it shall certify its findings to the clerk of the court of common pleas of the county in which the claimant resides or where the railroad or any of its offices is maintained.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.127, HB 487, §101.01, eff. 6/11/2012.
Effective Date: 10-01-1953 .