• Current through October 23, 2012

(1) In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) "Bailee" means the person who by a warehouse receipt, bill of lading or other document of title acknowledges possession of goods and contracts to deliver them.

(b) "Consignee" means the person named in a bill to whom or to whose order the bill promises delivery.

(c) "Consignor" means the person named in a bill as the person from whom the goods have been received for shipment.

(d) "Delivery order" means a written order to deliver goods directed to a warehouseman, carrier or other person who in the ordinary course of business issues warehouse receipts or bills of lading.

(e) "Document" means document of title as defined in the general definitions in Article 1 (section 28:1-201).

(f) "Goods" means all things which are treated as movable for the purposes of a contract of storage or transportation.

(g) "Issuer" means a bailee who issues a document except that in relation to an unaccepted delivery order it means the person who orders the possessor of goods to deliver. Issuer includes any person for whom an agent or employee purports to act in issuing a document if the agent or employee has real or apparent authority to issue documents, notwithstanding that the issuer received no goods or that the goods were misdescribed or that in any other respect the agent or employee violated his instructions.

(h) "Warehouseman" is a person engaged in the business of storing goods for hire.

(2) Other definitions applying to this article or to specified parts thereof, and the sections in which they appear are:

"Duly negotiated" section 28:7-501.

"Person entitled under the document" section 28:7-403(4).

(3) Definitions in other articles applying to this article and the sections in which they appear are:

"Contract for sale" section 28:2-106.

"Overseas" section 28:2-323.

"Receipt" of goods section 28:2-103.

(4) In addition Article 1 contains general definitions and principles of construction and interpretation applicable throughout this article.

(Dec. 30, 1963, 77 Stat. 718, Pub. L. 88-243, § 1; Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-255, § 27(vv), 44 DCR 1271.)



Prior Uniform Statutory Provision

Section 76, Uniform Sales Act; Section 58, Uniform Warehouse Receipts Act; Sections 1 and 53, Uniform Bills of Lading Act.


Applicable definitions from the uniform acts have been consolidated and revised; definition of delivery order is new.

Purposes of Changes and New Matter

1. "Bailee" was not defined in the old uniform acts. It is used in this Article as a blanket term to designate carriers, warehousemen and others who normally issue documents of title on the basis of goods which they have received. The definition does not, however, require actual possession of the goods. If a bailee acknowledges possession when he does not have it he is bound by sections of this Article which declare the "bailee's" obligations. (See definition of "Issuer" in this section and Sections 7-203 and 7-301 on liability in case of non-receipt.)

2. The definition of warehouse receipt contained in the general definitions section of this Act (Section 1-201) eliminates the requirement of the Uniform Warehouse Receipts Act that the issuing warehouseman be "lawfully engaged" in business. The warehouseman's compliance with applicable state regulations such as the filing of a bond has no bearing on the substantive issues dealt with in this Article. Certainly the issuer's violations of law should not diminish his responsibility on documents he has put in commercial circulation. The Uniform Warehouse Receipts Act requirement that the warehouseman be engaged "for profit" has also been eliminated in view of the existence of state operated and co-operative warehouses. But it is still essential that the business be storing goods "for hire" (Section 1-201 and this section). A person does not become a warehouseman by storing his own goods.

3. Delivery orders, which were included without qualification in the Uniform Sales Act definition of document of title, must be treated differently in this consolidation of provisions from the three uniform acts. When a delivery order has been accepted by the bailee it is for practical purposes indistinguishable from a warehouse receipt. Prior to such acceptance there is no basis for imposing obligations on the bailee other than the ordinary obligation of contract which the bailee may have assumed to the depositor of the goods.

Cross References

Point 1: Sections 7-203 and 7-301.

Point 2: Sections 1-201 and 7-203.

See general comment to document of title in Section 1-201.

Definitional Cross References

"Bill of lading". Section 1-201.

"Contract". Section 1-201.

"Contract for sale". Section 2-106.

"Delivery". Section 1-201.

"Document of title". Section 1-201.

"Person". Section 1-201.

"Purchase". Section 1-201.

"Receipt of goods". Section 2-103.

"Right". Section 1-201.

"Warehouse receipt". Section 1-201.

"Written". Section 1-201.

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 28:7-102.

1973 Ed., § 28:7-102.

Legislative History of Laws

Law 11-255, the "Second Technical Amendments Act of 1996," was introduced in Council and assigned Bill No. 11-905, which was referred to the Committee of the Whole. The Bill was adopted on first and second readings on November 7, 1996, and December 3, 1996, respectively. Signed by the Mayor on December 24, 1996, it was assigned Act No. 11-519 and transmitted to both Houses of Congress for its review. D.C. Law 11-255 became effective on April 9, 1997.