Banks v. Chicago Grain Trimmers Assn., Inc.

PETITIONER: Banks
RESPONDENT: Chicago Grain Trimmers Assn., Inc.
LOCATION: WAFB TV

DOCKET NO.: 59
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1967-1969)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 390 US 459 (1968)
ARGUED: Jan 17, 1968
DECIDED: Apr 01, 1968

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Banks v. Chicago Grain Trimmers Assn., Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 17, 1968 in Banks v. Chicago Grain Trimmers Assn., Inc.

Earl Warren:

Number 59 Agnes M. Banks, etc., Petitioner versus Chicago Grain Trimmers Association Incorporation et al.

Mr. Liebenson.

Harold A. Liebenson:

May it please Your Honor and Justices.

I believe that we have to start a little bit with the facts in this case because of the unusual situation.

You have an occurrence that took place on January 26 in 1961 where a man was injured at a gateway elevator company where there were no eyewitnesses, where the time was unknown, where he was working as a button man and his type of work and he was allegedly struck on the forehead with some steel, but no one saw this and there’s no evidence in the record to sustain it.

The only thing there was in the record was a statement that there was a little tiny black mark on his forehead.

This particular case came to trial before the Longshoremen Commissioner and on the evidence, he made a finding that there’s no evidence of this man being injured on January 26th in the course of his employment.

Thereafter I happen to get in the case and I heard about another occurrence which took place on January 30th 1961.

Now it should be pointed out that on January 30th about two hours after this occurrence, the man came home and from the top of his steps suddenly catapulted from the top of the steps to the basement no evidence of tripping and no evidence of the man protecting himself, in other words his hands his hands didn't go forward or anything to do anything to, for self-protection.

Now, when this man fell, he remained unconscious till his death on February 12.

When the case came to trial at the first hearing, the respondent had in its possession a statement from an eyewitness to the occurrence of January 30th, but this was not made known and you now have a widow bringing the action, not a person who was injured and alive and who can tell about it.

On January 30th, I'm sorry let me go back.

Subsequent to this, I filed a -- I heard about the witness and I filed a lawsuit a third party action in the Federal Court and I subpoenaed the insurance company record and I obtained a copy of the statement that they had.

Now, the statement was dated on April 8, 1961, the hearing on this first occurrence was on January 26, 1961.

At no time during this January 26, 1961 hearing is there anything about an occurrence that took place on January 30.

Now the occurrence that took place at January 30th took place at another elevator, a distance away.

It was -- the man was doing a different type of work.

He was -- there was an eyewitness who saw this and saw that he -- wherein he was hit on the top of the head from approximately 30 pounds of rope that fell about 50 feet and the man was seen rubbing his head.

Now, this case after it was tried in the Federal Court, the jury brought in a verdict in our favor for the maximum which was $30,000 and subsequent thereto the trial judge entered an order of remittitur of $11,000.

The Court of Appeals, I stepped out of the case basically because the government took over at that time, and the Court of Appeals held that the first occurrence was res judicata of the second occurrence and the basis for the Court of Appeals' ruling was number one, they cite the Baltimore versus Phillips, a steamship case at 274 U.S.

Wherein the, there is no comparison as to the facts.

In that particular case there was a sailor who sued under the Admiralty Act for maintenance and cure and negligence and unseaworthiness and then after there was a verdict in that case then he went to another court and brought another action under the Jones Act case and the Court probably said, well your rights were determined in this first hearing.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Mr. Liebenson?

Harold A. Liebenson:

Yes sir.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

If you prevail do you have to cut at that $19,000 on --

Harold A. Liebenson:

Yes, Your Honor.

I will cover that later on too.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Yeah, well, I'm just, so that there's a possibility of recovery in this proceeding in excess of $19,000.

Harold A. Liebenson:

Yes sir, it's about 70,000, I think in this proceeding total.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

That -- is that, does 70 mean this is, the statute provides a computation which produces 70,000.