Lake Tankers Corporation v. Henn

PETITIONER: Lake Tankers Corporation
LOCATION: Congress

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

CITATION: 354 US 147 (1957)
ARGUED: May 06, 1957
DECIDED: Jun 10, 1957

Facts of the case


Media for Lake Tankers Corporation v. Henn

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - May 06, 1957 in Lake Tankers Corporation v. Henn

Earl Warren:

Number 445, Lake Tankers Corporation, Petitioner, versus Lillian M. Henn, Administratrix.

Mr. Underwood.

Eugene Underwood:

Mr. Chief Justice, if the Court please.

This is an admiralty proceeding for exoneration from or limitation of liability in a collision case in which the petitioner in this Court was the petitioner for exoneration from or limitation of liability in the District Court.

In brief, the facts are these.

The petitioner owned a tug and a barge which were proceeding up the Hudson River in the middle of the night when a small pleasure craft on which there were 11 people proceeding in the opposite direction, south in the Hudson River, collided with the barge, capsized, sank and was a total loss.

And the 10 of the passengers on that little boat survived, but one lost his life, the respondent's husband lost his life.

I should say to you that the tug and the barge were made up in push-tow fashion.

That is to say, there is in the stern of the barge of the -- in which the tug puts its bow and the barge is securely lashed to the tug so that the tug has utter and complete control over the barge in every respect.

Following this collision and the loss of the little boat called Blackstone, five actions at law were begun in the state court.

One to recover for the death of the respondent's husband, and another, to recover for personal injuries and the loss of the Blackstone.

And in these two suits, on behalf of five people, including the respondent, the claims aggregated $657,500.

Felix Frankfurter:

What was the second general -- what was the second proceeding in the state court?

Eugene Underwood:

There were two actions in the state court.

Felix Frankfurter:


One was for the husband, isn't it?

Eugene Underwood:

Yes, Your Honor, and the other one was on behalf of four of the passengers who combined in one action.

And they claimed personal injuries as well as the loss of the Blackstone.

There was --

Felix Frankfurter:

Did you said also the Blackstone?

Eugene Underwood:

Also the Blackstone.

That's --

Felix Frankfurter:

Did they -- they brought suit against the barge and the tug as well as the Blackstone?

Eugene Underwood:

If Your Honor please, the -- the action in the state court was in personam against the petitioner here.

Felix Frankfurter:

Yes, I understand that.

But --

Eugene Underwood:

They claimed for the loss of the Blackstone which was the little yacht.

The tug was the Eastern Cities.

Felix Frankfurter:


Eugene Underwood:

The barge was number 38 and --