Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. Perini North River Associates

PETITIONER: Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
RESPONDENT: Perini North River Associates
LOCATION: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

DOCKET NO.: 81-897
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 459 US 297 (1983)
ARGUED: Oct 04, 1982
DECIDED: Jan 11, 1983

ADVOCATES:
Martin Krutzel - on behalf of the Respondents
Richard G. Wilkins - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. Perini North River Associates

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 04, 1982 in Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. Perini North River Associates

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 11, 1983 in Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. Perini North River Associates

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in Director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Program against Perini and Associates will be announced by Justice O'Connor.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

This case comes to the Court on certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Before 1972, coverage under the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act extended only to injury sustained by workers on the actual navigable waters of the United States.

In 1972, the Act was amended by expanding the navigable water situs to include certain adjoining land areas and by adding a status requirement that employees covered by the Act be engaged in maritime employment.

In this case, an employee of the respondent construction firm was injured while performing his job on the deck of a cargo barge being used in the construction of a sewage treatment plant extending over the Hudson River in New York City.

The employees claimed for compensation under the Act was denied by the Benefits Review Board and by the Second Circuit on the ground that he was not engaged in maritime employment because his employments lacks a significant relationship to navigation or to commerce on navigable waters.

The Director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, who is a respondent in the Court of Appeals, brought the petition for review of the denial of benefits.

We hold that it's not necessary for us to determine whether the Director has standing in his own right to seek review of the decision below.

The petition of the Director brings the injured employee before this Court as well and the employee has sufficient interest in the question at issue to give him standing urge consideration of the merits of the decision below.

On the merits of the issue presented, we hold that the injured employee was engaged in maritime employment and is thus covered by the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers' Act.

The employee would have been covered under the Longshoremen's Act before it was amended in 1972 and there is nothing in the legislative history of the 1972 Amendments to indicated that Congress intended to withdraw coverage from employees such as the one in this case who are injured on the navigable waters in the course of their employment.

In passing the 1972 Amendments, Congress specifically indicated that it did not intend to exclude employees traditionally covered before 1972.

The judgment is reversed and remanded and Justice Rehnquist has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.

Justice Stevens has filed a dissenting opinion.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Justice O'Connor.