Roper v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit

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

CITATION: 368 US 20 (1961)
ARGUED: Oct 12, 1961 / Oct 16, 1961
DECIDED: Nov 06, 1961

Facts of the case


Media for Roper v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 12, 1961 in Roper v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 16, 1961 in Roper v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 16 William J. Roper, Petitioner, versus United States et al.

Mr. Kelsey, you may continue your argument.

Sidney H. Kelsey:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

May I briefly for one moment restate what was said on last Thursday?

The question involved here is whether or not the warranty of seaworthiness is owed by a vessel which has been put into navigation for a commercial purpose, and well the warranty extends to gear an equipment which is attached to the dock on one end but is laying in the hole and is performing maritime services in the service to the vessel during the unloading operation.

I stated the piece of equipment involved in this case is a grain shovels on a marine leg.

It leans over from the dock into the hole of the vessel and is the only method in which this vessel can be unloaded.

This Court said recently in 1959, West versus the United States, that the emphasis now, the focus should be upon the status of the vessel in order to determine the -- whether or not it was in navigation and the warranty was old.

We believe that the decision also imply that the warranty extends also to gear and equipment which is used in the maritime service of the vessel which I say practical and reasonable relation to the maritime service.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Mr. Kelsey --

(Inaudible) vessel part of the vessel's equipment?

Even though its equipment is usually not part of the vessel equipment?

Sidney H. Kelsey:

Yes sir, what is the part of a vessel's equipment is indeed a relative matter, as modern science progresses, new types of equipment are made in the vessel and we cannot be restricted to any particular type as there are improvements going on all the time.


Sidney H. Kelsey:

Yes sir.

Now --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Before any equipment?

Sidney H. Kelsey:

Well, this is also used in the maritime service as a clear and practical relationship to the maritime service to the vessel.

In other words, through Sieracki -- starting Sieracki 1946 and through to -- the Crumady decision in 1959, this Court has double attempted to make any gear and equipment analysis of a type and kind.

This Court has always said, it's a clear reasoning, that if this equipment is used and the maritime service and an entry of thought arises out of this service then it is covered -- the warranty is covered, covers this type of equipment.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

I wondered Mr. Kelsey if you're going to talk us through this (Inaudible) on this picture.

Sidney H. Kelsey:

Yes sir, I --

Earl Warren:

Mr. --

Sidney H. Kelsey:

-- I had the (Voice Overlap) --

Earl Warren:

Mr. Kelsey just before you get to that, you said that this was the only way that ship could be unloaded, would you elaborate that just a bit?

Sidney H. Kelsey:

Yes sir.

The -- a marine leg of grain ship is a piece of equipment that is attached to the dock and it is -- it is a funnel that goes over to the hole of the ship and it pulls up, it sucks up the grain through the leg into the grain way on the other side.

There is no other way to unload the grain ship.

In fact since 1956, the Government has unloaded 28 of its own grain ships, here at Norfolk with this equipment.

We don't --