(DiBtrict Oourt, D., Oonnecti0u(. 'February 14,1889.)
SBlPPING-LtABILrn OF OWNER-IN.toRt:B:!l
The libel$nt. ,a leaman, while engaged in some work on the deck of a vessel belongin,gto, ,c,laimant. step,ped I:!pon an'iro,,n grating, over a coal·hole. which turned and let him down into the hole. injuring him. There was an iron frame around the coal-hole. elevated abolit three inches above the deck; and upon thli shoulder of this frame the ,grating in question rested. The testimony ,of tb,e )iiJelant. which was supported by several witnesses. was to tLe effect that the shoulder of, the frame was so worn away that when a Came upon one side it tui-nedfor lack of suppOrt. A few days before the ac· cident another seaman had stepped upon, the same grating and been thrown to the deck; and a,fter the accident the captain placed a new cover over the hole. restidg upon the deck. One whose business it was to keep claimant's vessels in repair. testified that he did notthirik the coal·hole frame and grato defective; but the claimant did not attem\ltto gElt t4e ,testimony of offi· cers or men. ,nor was the coal-hole frame produced. though in the possession of claimant'scoUlieeJ.· Held, that the claimant waslia.ble for the injuries sufferedby libela.nt. .,
BEAMEN- DEFECTIVE PREMISES.
In 'Libel for damages. : ' Samuel Park" for libelant. Brandegee" for claimant.
, . SHIPMaN, J.. This Is a libel in rem by a seaman to recover damag6s for an injury alleged to have beencause,d by the defective equipment of vessel .the .inception of the voyage., which ought to have been known by the owners. On.June 30, 1888, at Greenport, Long Island, the libelant ahipped on board the steamer, J. C. Tuthill, a menhaden l:flshing 'aaoarsman, at $35 per month. 'fheowner of sl1:id vessel -is. a corporation" doing business at said Greenport, where it fits out its vessels, whiohfish: upon the waters of the. Atlantic seaboard during the dishing season of about four months in the Bummer. ,On J:uly4, 1888, ! ,the, Please} was in port. On the ne;xt day she was engaged in fishing nepr Falkner's island, in Long bland. sQund. The nWl111ing, was clear,and the water was smooth until about noon, when the wind began to blow hard from the south. About 1 o'clock the seine-boats returned to the vessel on account of the weather, and were hauled up, and triced to the davits. The libelant was tricing up one of the boats, and, while looking forward, stepped back upon the iron grating over the middle one of the three coal-holes on the starboard side of the deck. The grating turned, and let him violently down into the hole, and he struck heavily in the perinreum, against the rim or bushing of the iron frame-work which surrounded the hole. The violence of the blow caused a stricture across the urethra, which is, in his case, a permanent, serious, and very painful injury. He was in great suffering after the accident, was carried to New London, where he was attended by surgeons, and, after about 11 days, was removed to his home in Maine, where he has been ever since. The surgeons' bills, his board in New London, and his wages were paid by the claimant. He did not know, and had no reason to know, of the
defect in the He is' disabled froth doing anything butlight wotk, cannot walk without pain, passes water in drops/and will be laid up a: good deal ofthetime. The stricture being deep-seated, the consequences; are more painful and moreseriousthanifitcould by surgical aid or appliances. There are three coal-holes on the star- . board side of the steamer. Each hole is surrounded by a cast-iron frame. An iron gratillg, which rests upon a shoulder or bushing in the frame, covers the hole. This grating admits Ijght and air into the hold. ' The' Tuthill's f!'ames 'were elevated about three inches above the deck. In wet weather, a tight, heavy cover is put over the grating, which rests, upon the deck, and prevents water from entering the hold. Infair weather, when vessels are fishing the sound, this cover is notus,ed. On June 30th another seaman on board the Tuthill stepped upon, the' same covering over the same' hole. The grating turned,' and threw him upon the deck, but without injury. After July 5th the captain placed over the hole a new cover" which rested upon the deck. The important question of fact in the case is whether the grating turned by reason of a defect in the shoulder or bushing upon which it rested. The libelant's testimony is to the effect that this shoulder was worn away upon the forward and after ends, and upon the side, so that when a weight came upon one side of the grating At had no adequate support, and immediately turned. Four seamen on board the Tuthill at the time of the accident,and who are witnesses for the libelant, support this position from personal inspection of the frame immediately after the accident. The claimant's' testimony on thesubjecHs given by the person ,\Yhose duiy i.t was to put the claimant's vessels in (lrder" spring, for the fishing season, and who never saw that the Tuthill's plates were out of order, and who, after the accident, examined the plate, tne libelant fell, and did not think that it was ,. the, superintendent of the claimant for the last 10 years also testified that he never had occasion to the plates, and never noticedtbilt tbey were out of order. The captain anp mate of the vessel are ii:l;Maine. No effort was made bytbe claimant to get the testimony of either of them,or'of any of the sailors. The cOllI-hole frame was sent toihe office of'the c}ilimallt'scoUDselin New London. It was not produced in court... lts non-production was notowing to forgetfulness, and signifies that its pr('Scourt was not desired by the claimant. In view of t9.e entire lack of testimony on the. part of the. claimant, for the testimony of its officer is, in' part at least, offset by the act of the captain in providing a new cover wbich re.sted upon the deck, there is no conclusion tha.t Jhe shoulder ·of tbe frame had become so worn that it was no longer a support for the gi'atingj tbat the grating had become a trap for the foot 01' anyone who stepped upon it; originate during tbe voyage, but existed wben tbA vessel was put in' 'order for the and qn .June. 30tb, wben left. and ought tollave beeJ;l.known It has repeatedly of late tbat are.],'esponsible,by th.e mod.erq. maFit!I]1e; JIllJ\' tp;, seamen for injuries on sbipboard arising from the unsafe .and dangerous
equipment for the ordinary contingencies of the voyage, which was rUt'nished by the owners at the beginning of the voyage, the defects of which they knew or ought to have known, and of which the injured seamen did not know, and had no adequate reason to know. Halverson v. NWf!!n, 3 Sawy. 562; The Edith Godden, 23 Fed. Rep. 43; The Neptuno, 30 Fed. Rep. 925j The Yoxjord, 33 Fed. Rep. 521; Couch v. Steel, 3 El. & B1. 402. The claimant says that, if the gratings were defective, the owner had provided close-fitting covers for use at sea, and that, if the captain d,id not use them, it was his negligence, for which the owner is not respomlible. If this leg!l,l proposition was a sound one, it is not a proved fact that the covers were for use except in stormy weather, and I do not think that the weather of July 5th required their use. The libelant is a permanently disabled and suffering man. Let a decree be entl;lred in his Javor for the sum of $2,500 and costs.
THE W-1DAJ,E. ANDREWS et'lMt. 'lJ. THE WYDALE. WALKER et
(Circuit Oourt, E. D. Louisiana.
February 13, 1889.)
TO UNDERSTAND SIGNALS.
A steam-ship ascending the left bank of the river in New Orleans. hi the about to cross. gave two blasts of the whistle on discovering- a tug- and tow. which were descending' the middle of the stream, indicating that the steam-ship would pass io port, andstarboarded its helm. and proceeded ,at half speed. The tug did not understand the course and motions. of the steam-ship and responded with one whistle. indicating that it would pass to starboard. and ported its helm and the helm of the tow. The vessels ap". proached,and the signals were and afterwards the tug again gave .a single whistle. The tug then showed its r!ld light. and the steam-ship gave the danger·signal. reversed its eJ;lgines. and ordered full speed astern... The tug responded with the danger-signal, ordered the helm hard a-port. and put on all steam, but collided broadside with the bow of the steam-ship. Held, r:thateach was in faultin n<;lt'reversing its engines, and giving the danger·sigap,art. as required in c,:se of m!sunderstandi?g, nal when they were 800 by Rules & Heg. Gulf of MeXICO, 1; that the tug- was ID fault ID not reverslDg when the danger-signal was given, as required by rule 2; and that the steam. :lIhip was in fault in entering- the harbor under too great speed, and in persist, ing in gO,ing to the left, in violation of rule 1.
ADMIRALTY-JultisDICTION-DEATli BY WRONGFUL ACT.
In the absence of a federal statute or statute of the state, where" collision ,:O,'Cours giving a lien on a vessel for damages for the death, of a human being , fr9m negligence. an intervening libel in rem for damages for death resulting.· . from suchcol1ision cannot be maintained.
:.IIi Adnriralty. Libel for., damages. On· appeal from district court. Libel by Williit:m M. and others the steam-ship d'a1e,' and intervening libel by Walker & Fowler and others.
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