LOCATION:C and P Telephone Baltimore Headquarters
DOCKET NO.: 78-425
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
CITATION: 444 US 69 (1979)
ARGUED: Mar 20, 1979
REARGUED: Oct 01, 1979
DECIDED: Nov 27, 1979
E. D. Vickery – on behalf of the Petitioners
Peter Buscemi – pro hac vice
William C. Bryson –
Media for P. C. Pfeiffer Company, Inc. v. Ford
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – November 27, 1979 in P. C. Pfeiffer Company, Inc. v. Ford
Warren E. Burger:
The judgment and opinion of the Court in No. 78-425, P. C. Pfeiffer Company against Ford will be announced by Mr. Justice Powell.
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:
This case is here on certiorari to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The question presented is whether two workers when they sustain injuries who are engaged in maritime activity as defined in the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
When respondent Ford was injured, he was working on a public dock, fastening military vehicles onto a railroad car for inland transportation.
Respondent Bryant was hurt while unloading cotton from a dray wagon into a pier warehouse.
The cotton later was moved from the warehouse and placed onboard a ship.
The act as reenacted in 1972 established a dual test for eligibility for benefits.
First, a worker must be injured upon the situs as defined in Section 3 (a) of the Act.
That situs includes the navigable waters of the United States and adjoining piers, wharves and other areas customarily used for loading or unloading a vessel.
It is undisputed that both Ford and Bryant satisfy the situs requirement.
Second, a worker must be a covered employee under Section 2 (3) of the Act.
This requires that the employee be engaged in maritime employment when injured, the question presented by this case.
The arguments advanced pro and con on this issue need not be stated in this brief oral summary.
Suffice it to say we are satisfied that Ford and Bryant were in engaged in maritime employment, their work involved intermediate steps in the moving of cargo between ship and land transportation.
Our decision today serves the congressional goal of providing a uniform standard of coverage.
We believe our standard will enable both workers and employers to predict with reasonable assurance who is covered by the 1972 Act.
Accordingly, the judgment of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is affirmed.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you Mr. Justice Powell.