Weyerhaeuser Steamship Company v. Nacirema Operating Company, Inc.

PETITIONER: Weyerhaeuser Steamship Company
RESPONDENT: Nacirema Operating Company, Inc.
LOCATION: Philadelphia Board of Public Education

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

CITATION: 355 US 563 (1958)
ARGUED: Jan 06, 1958
DECIDED: Mar 03, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for Weyerhaeuser Steamship Company v. Nacirema Operating Company, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 06, 1958 in Weyerhaeuser Steamship Company v. Nacirema Operating Company, Inc.

Earl Warren:

Number 75, Weyerhaeuser Steamship Company versus Nacirema Operating Company.

William Garth Symmers:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Symmers.

William Garth Symmers:


Earl Warren:


William Garth Symmers:

William Symmers appearing for the petitioner, the Weyerhaeuser Steamship Company.

This case arises out of a third-party action by a longshoreman who recovered damages from the petitioner, Weyerhaeuser Steamship Company, for personal injuries which the longshoreman sustained while working on Weyerhaeuser Ship in Boston Harbor.

That issue here is the right of the shipowner to indemnity from contracting stevedore which employed the injured longshoreman which supervised him in the course of his work.

The logbook for the day in which this longshoreman was injured is so succinct in the statement of facts.

Before I go into my narrative of facts, it might be helpful to the Court if I simply read the sailor's language of how it happened.

William O. Douglas:

Where is that?

William Garth Symmers:

It's on the record at page 84.

The log is dated February 4, 1952, 10 o'clock in the morning.

A piece of wood from a winch driver shelter built by them, that number hatch fell into number one lower hold hitting longshoreman William --

Where are you reading from?

William Garth Symmers:

Record 84, sir.


William Garth Symmers:

A piece of wood fell on the number one lower hold hitting longshoreman -- the upper left-hand corner, William J. Connolly on the head, hatch tender, path divine, a man set out of hold on stretcher.

No ships near the (Inaudible).

This case is here on writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit which by a divided court affirms the trial judges' direction of a verdict in favor of the third-party defendant, stevedoring contractor, in the shipowner's action to recover indemnity from the stevedore.

The trial was in the District Court for the Southern District of New York before Judge McGohey and the jury.

Charles E. Whittaker:

Is it true then, we have no issue here as (Inaudible) between the steamship company?

William Garth Symmers:


The original plaintiff Connolly was paid after indictment in his favor against the shipowner.

The trial judge then directed judgment in favor of the third-party defendant not leaving the question to the jury at all and between the -- the original shipowner defendant in the -- and the stevedore.

Charles E. Whittaker:

A finding that the steamship (Inaudible) which is primarily liable was not (Inaudible).

William Garth Symmers:

Well, it's not a question of primary liability, sir.

We -- there are two issues submitted to the Court, one tried together.

One was Connolly (Voice Overlap) a claim against the shipowner.

Secondly, was the shipowner's claim in a third-party proceeding against the stevedore.