Crumady v. The Joachim Hendrik Fisser

RESPONDENT: The Joachim Hendrik Fisser
LOCATION: Roosevelt Bar and Tavern

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 358 US 423 (1959)
ARGUED: Jan 12, 1959 / Jan 13, 1959
DECIDED: Feb 24, 1959

Facts of the case


Media for Crumady v. The Joachim Hendrik Fisser

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 13, 1959 in Crumady v. The Joachim Hendrik Fisser

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 12, 1959 in Crumady v. The Joachim Hendrik Fisser

Earl Warren:

Number 61, John Crumady, Petitioner, versus Joachim Hendrik Fisser et al.

Mr. Freedman, you may proceed.

Abraham E. Freedman:

After all that discussion, I think it might be relaxing to take a little secret now.

May it please the Court.

There were two questions posed by these proceedings.

The first is whether or not the shipowner is responsible for an unsafe condition which is created by an independent contractor in the course of unloading operations, and the second is whether the Court of Appeals may reverse a fact finding of the trial judge sitting in admiralty under circumstances where the fact finding -- where the finding of the trial judge is not shown to be clearly erroneous under the McAllister decision of this Court.

Briefly, the circumstances in this case show that Mr. Crumady was a longshoreman, one of a group of longshoremen who were engaged to discharge a cargo of lumber from this vessel, the Joachim Hendrik Fisser, I'll call it the Fisser for purposes of convenience, in January of 1954.

He was employed by the impleaded respondent, the Nacirema Operating Company.

They went to work on the morning of January 4th -- 2nd, 1954 and discharged most of the cargo which had been piled above the level of the coaming here in this hole.

Perhaps I should first state to the Court that all of the gear that Your Honors see on this model was designed for -- a three-ton gear, designed with a workload capacity of three tons.

That is the maximum safe workload capacity of three tons.

That included these booms and this gear.

And I would like to take a moment or two to describe the various parts of the gear here.

Felix Frankfurter:

And will you -- and will you for the sake of a land lover, translate technical sea -- water terms into English.

Abraham E. Freedman:

I will certainly be glad to do so, sir.

Hugo L. Black:

You said this boom, which is that?

Abraham E. Freedman:

Well, sir, these are the booms.

This timber right here is the mast.

This is the mast house down here.

It's the new type -- it's a foreign vessel, a German vessel, and this is the port boom and this is the starboard boom.

Now, the port boom was called the port as the left side and the starboard as the right side.

Felix Frankfurter:

I -- I know at least that much.

Abraham E. Freedman:

The port boom was used as the so-called up and down boom.

As Your Honors can see, here is a cable which extends between the two of them and this cable is called the runner.

The runner is that part of the cable which attaches to the load itself, which is to be lifted.

Felix Frankfurter:

Is the runner the black part?

Abraham E. Freedman:

This part right here.

Felix Frankfurter:

The black part or the whole?

Abraham E. Freedman:

Well, the whole of it.

Felix Frankfurter:

The whole.