Grimes v. Raymond Concrete Pile Company

RESPONDENT: Raymond Concrete Pile Company
LOCATION: First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

CITATION: 356 US 252 (1958)
ARGUED: Mar 10, 1958
DECIDED: Apr 07, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for Grimes v. Raymond Concrete Pile Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 10, 1958 (Part 1) in Grimes v. Raymond Concrete Pile Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 10, 1958 (Part 2) in Grimes v. Raymond Concrete Pile Company

Earl Warren:

Mr. Kisloff.

Harry Kisloff:


Earl Warren:

Pardon -- pardon me -- no -- no.

You have (Voice Overlap) --

Harry Kisloff:

Thank you, Your Honor.

Earl Warren:

I forgot --

Frank L. Kozol:

I think the timekeeper indicate that I have about eight or 10 minutes left.

Earl Warren:

All right.

Frank L. Kozol:

We have here a case, may it please the Court where a workmen who consciously and intentionally hide himself out as pile driver and went out into the ocean to help construct a defense base is except as he may be found to be a member of a crew on sufficient evidence to support such a finding is covered by the humane protective provisions of the Workmen's Compensation statute, which Congress established under the Defense Bases Act as the sole and exclusive remedy for all American workers who went out to work on such bases which were to be constructed on the contracts with the Government of the United States or any department or agency thereof, precisely such as happened in this case.

In this case, it suits the plaintiff's purpose because he received minor injuries and has collected this $200 under workmen's compensation to see if he can gamble for a better result from a jury and the only way to possibly achieve that result is if he can get a jury -- get to a jury and persuade the jury to hold him to be a member of a crew of a vessel.

This is because for six hours, as the Chief Justice has brought out in your searching question, he worked on the barge, doing a work that is frequently and commonly done by seaman who are members of the crew of a vessel.

But I have indicated in my answers and I am certain that the case support my position that that is not determinative nor significant even though I can give mathematical formulas to what point the status of the individual changes.

I do know this however, that there are certain criteria which this Court has seized upon over and over and over again most recently in the Senko case, which was decided last term.

One of those is permanent connection with a vessel.

The majority opinion on the Senko case setup three tests and I've quoted the language on page 26 of our brief.

The first one was that there was a testimony introduced by the plaintiff in that case tending to show that he's employed almost solely on the dredge which was the vessel involved in that case.

In our case, the testimony is perfectly clear that he was not employed almost solely on the barge.

And that's why my brother has to resort to the argument that the Texas Tower is a vessel which I argue most sincerely and obviously was not.

The second test is if the duties of the petitioner were primarily to maintain the dredge during its anchorage for its future trips.

The petitioner in this case had no such duties whatsoever.

Its perfectly clear and beyond doubt on the record that the duties of this petitioner was to help construct a defense base in line with his normal duties as a pile driver and what he was doing on the barge was a casual transitory of thermal task, preparatory and ancillary to his main job.

And the third test is that he would have a significant navigational function once the instrumentality, which is called the “vessel is put into transit.”

In this case, the petitioner would have no such significant function whatsoever.

The argument that the Jones Act should be expanded as widely as possible, I most respectfully submit, misses the mark.

The Congress intended our defense base workers to have the protection of a Workmen's Compensation Act where they need not rely upon negligence as they must under the Jones Act.

What about the next case that's waiting in line in my office with my brother of the defense base worker who was killed without negligence?

Is he to be left -- his family to be left entirely without any protection?

That certainly was not the purpose in the intent of Congress.

Under Compensation Act, he would covered if the broad principle recently established by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court prevails as I'm quite sure it will even if he was shot to death as happened in a Massachusetts case by some evil intention of a person engaged in target practice.

But it --