Waterman Steamship Corporation v. Dugan & McNamara, Inc.

PETITIONER: Waterman Steamship Corporation
RESPONDENT: Dugan & McNamara, Inc.
LOCATION: Alabama General Assembly

DOCKET NO.: 35
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 364 US 421 (1960)
ARGUED: Oct 20, 1960
DECIDED: Nov 21, 1960

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Waterman Steamship Corporation v. Dugan & McNamara, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 20, 1960 in Waterman Steamship Corporation v. Dugan & McNamara, Inc.

Earl Warren:

Number 35, Waterman Steamship Corporation, Petitioner, versus Dugan & McNamara.

Mr. Mount, you may proceed with your argument.

Thomas F. Mount:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This case involves the question of indemnification or recoupment of losses by a steamship owner who has had to pay damages or who has sustained loss because of the personal injury to a longshoreman, who was an employee of an independent stevedoring company.

The facts in this case briefly are that the steamship had found real or it's in the port of Philadelphia.

And while there, he was unloading a cargo of sugar in bags and the discharging work was being done by the respondent here which was an independent stevedoring contractor.

He was engaged or it was rather, by the consignee or owner of the cargo.

He was not employed by the vessel owner to discharge this cargo.

While the cargo was being discharged, one Jasper King, one of the longshoremen was injured.

Briefly, the reason for his injury is that this cargo bags was stowed from forward to aft in the whole of the vessel, from the forward bulkhead back to about the center of the hatch and from the bottom of the vessel up to the twin dike.

In other words, that left a vertical wall all the way across the ship of bags.

Partly in the hatch, forward part and the rest of the hatch, the lateral half of the hatch was opened.

This vertical wall was held in place by sufficient shoring and support so that it didn't fall down.

When the stevedores started to work, they started in the portion of the stow which was at the top of the hatch and they started to take these bags of sugar out of the square of the hatch and they worked forward.

And as they did this, they broke down the stow, a distance of six feet or more in height.

So that the men, when they were working in, the cargo had walls of cargo around them of higher than they were.

And the testimony in the case, that as they were working forward in this hatch, one of the bags was not centrally placed down in the stow so that the weight of the bag on top was without support or some bags and they fell down.

That is alleged to be the unseaworthy condition existing.

The testimony is that this was not a safe and proper way to do this work, that they should not have broken it down to such a height.

They should've worked it out frigidly so that the men that are working in a whole which was higher than they were should have bags not so high above them.

And expert testimony was had and said that this was not safe and proper way of doing the work.

But anyhow --

Charles E. Whittaker:

(Inaudible)

Thomas F. Mount:

Yes, sir.

Charles E. Whittaker:

(Inaudible) unloading, who control that matter?

Thomas F. Mount:

The stevedore.

Charles E. Whittaker:

The stevedore.

Thomas F. Mount:

Yes, sir.

Well, anyway the fellow wasn't hurt too awfully bad and he sued the ship contending unseaworthiness and unsafe place to work and the ship paid him off some $6800 and the suit had already been brought.

The ship joined in the stevedore claiming that if the ship is held liable by reason of any acts of the stevedore that it claimed indemnity over.