Слике страница

Opinion of the Court.

rence has been of a maritime character. It is asked whether admiralty would entertain a suit for libel or slander circulated on board a ship by one passenger against another. See Benedict, Admiralty, 4th ed., § 231. The appropriate basis, it is said, of all admiralty jurisdiction, whether in contract or in tort, is the maritime nature of the transaction or event; it is suggested that the wider authority exercised in very early times in England may be due to its antedating the recognition by the commonlaw courts of transitory causes of action and thus arose by virtue of necessity.

234 U. S.

We do not find it necessary to enter upon this broad inquiry. As this court has observed, the precise scope of admiralty jurisdiction is not a matter of 'obvious principle or of very accurate history,' The Blackheath, supra. And we are not now concerned with the extreme cases which are hypothetically presented. Even if it be assumed that the requirement as to locality in tort cases, while indispensable, is not necessarily exclusive, still in the present case the wrong which was the subject of the suit was, we think, of a maritime nature and hence the District Court, from any point of view, had jurisdiction. The petitioner contends that a maritime tort is one arising out of an injury to a ship caused by the negligence of a ship or a person or out of an injury to a person by the negligence of a ship; that there must either be an injury to a ship or an injury by the negligence of the ship, including therein the negligence of her owners or mariners; and that, as there was no negligence of the ship in the present case, the tort was not maritime. This view we deem to be altogether too narrow.

The libelant was injured on a ship, lying in navigable waters, and while he was engaged in the performance of a maritime service. We entertain no doubt that the service in loading and stowing a ship's cargo is of this character. Upon its proper performance depend in large measure the

Opinion of the Court.

safe carrying of the cargo and the safety of the ship itself; and it is a service absolutely necessary to enable the ship to discharge its maritime duty. Formerly the work was done by the ship's crew; but, owing to the exigencies of increasing commerce and the demand for rapidity and special skill, it has become a specialized service devolving upon a class 'as clearly identified with maritime affairs as are the mariners.' See The George T. Kemp, 2 Lowell, 477, 482; The Circassian, 1 Ben. 209; The Windermere, 2 Fed. Rep. 722; The Canada, 7 Fed. Rep. 119; The Hattie M. Bain, 20 Fed. Rep. 389; The Gilbert Knapp, 37 Fed. Rep. 209; The Main, 51 Fed. Rep. 954; Norwegian Steamship Co. v. Washington, 57 Fed. Rep. 224; The Seguranca, 58 Fed. Rep. 908; The Allerton, 93 Fed. Rep. 219; Hughes, Adm. 113; Benedict, Adm., 4th ed., § 207. The libelant was injured because the care required by the law was not taken to protect him while he was doing this work. We take it to be clear that the District Court sitting in admiralty was entitled to declare the applicable law in such a case, as it was within the power of Congress to modify that law. Waring v. Clarke, supra; The Lottawanna, supra. The fact that the ship was not found to be liable for the neglect is not controlling. If more is required than the locality of the wrong in order to give the court jurisdiction, the relation of the wrong to maritime service, to navigation and to commerce on navigable waters, was quite sufficient. Even with respect to contracts where subjectmatter is the exclusive test, it has been said that the true criterion is "whether it was a maritime contract, having reference to maritime service or maritime transactions." Insurance Company v. Dunham, 11 Wall. 1, 26. The Constitution provides that the judicial power shall extend 'to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction,' and the act of Congress defines the jurisdiction of the District Court, with respect to civil causes, in terms of like scope. To hold that a case of a tort committed on board a ship


234 U. S.

234 J. S.

Statement of the Case.

in navigable waters, by one who has undertaken a maritime service, against one engaged in the performance of that service, is not embraced within the constitutional grant and the jurisdictional act, would be to establish a limitation wholly without warrant.

The remaining question relates to the finding of negligence. It is urged that the neglect was that of a fellowservant and hence that the petitioner was not liable. Both courts below, however, concurred in the finding that the petitioner omitted to use proper diligence to provide a safe place of work. Baltimore & Ohio R. R. Co. v. Baugh, 149 U. S. 368, 386. As the question belongs to a class which under the distribution of judicial power is determinable by the Circuit Court of Appeals in last resort, we shall not undertake to discuss it at length or to restate the evidence. Chicago Junction Rwy. Co. v. King, 222 U. S. 222, 224; Chicago, R. I. & Pac. Rwy. Co. v. Brown, 229 U. S. 317, 320; Grand Trunk Rwy. Co. v. Lindsay, 233 U. S. 42, 50. It is sufficient to say that we are satisfied from an examination of the record that the ruling was justified.




No. 216. Argued January 29, 30, 1914.-Decided May 25, 1914. Decided on the authority of Atlantic Transport Company v. Imbrovek, ante, p. 54.

193 Fed. Rep. 1019, affirmed.

THE facts are stated in the opinion.


234 U. S.

Mr. Edward Duffy, with whom Mr. Nicholas P. Bond and Mr. Ralph Robinson were on the brief, for petitioner.

Mr. W. H. Price, Jr., and Mr. John E. Semmes, Jr., with whom Mr. John E. Semmes, Mr. Jesse N. Bowen and Mr. Matthew Gault were on the brief, for respondent.

MR. JUSTICE HUGHES delivered the opinion of the court.

This is a libel filed on behalf of the widow and infant children of Martin Szczesek to recover damages for injuries resulting in his death. Szczesek was a stevedore in the employ of the Atlantic Transport Company, the petitioner, and was engaged in loading the ship Pretoria. The District Court allowed a recovery against the petitioner (190 Fed. Rep. 240) which the Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 193 Fed. Rep. 1019.

The questions presented are the same as those which were considered in Atlantic Transport Company v. Imbrovek, ante, p. 52, decided this day and, for the reasons stated in the opinion in that case, the decree is affirmed.





No. 281. Argued March 19, 1914.-Decided May 25, 1914.

This court accepts the rulings of the territorial courts on local questions of pleading and practice. Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. Friday, 232 U. S. 694. Where some of the signatures of defendant makers had been obtained by means of fraudulent representations by the plaintiff holder of the paper, the whole transaction is vitiated even as to those makers

234 U. S.

Opinion of the Court.

who were liable on former existing paper of which that in suit was a renewal.

Where a renewal note constitutes a new promise with distinct legal consequences, it cannot be enforced if fraudulently induced, even if there were no defense to the older note in renewal of which it is given.

Under the Negotiable Instrument Act of 1907 of New Mexico, the title of a person negotiating commercial paper is defective if any signature thereto has been obtained by fraud, and if any one person is relieved from liability by proof of fraudulent inducement, all other persons who signed the paper are likewise relieved although they did not participate in and were ignorant of such fraud.

Where the court, on plaintiffs' motion, has denied the right of defendants to show that the note sued on was void as to them because of subsequent alteration by addition of signatures of other comakers, the plaintiff cannot defeat defendants' defense of fraud in obtaining the later signatures on the ground that the notes were completed instruments and binding upon the makers before the others had signed.

16 New Mex. 414, reversed.

THE facts, which involve the effect of fraudulent inducement to make commercial paper and the rights of comakers to be relieved of liability in such case, are stated in the opinion.

Mr. Francis E. Wood, with whom Mr. O. N. Marron was on the brief, for plaintiffs in error.

Mr. Harry M. Dougherty, with whom Mr. James G. Fitch was on the brief, for defendant in error.

MR. JUSTICE HUGHES delivered the opinion of the court.

This suit was brought by the Bank of Commerce in the District Court for Socorro County in the Territory of New Mexico to recover upon two promissory notes. The plaintiff bank was the payee and the defendants Broyles, Schmidt & Story, Crossman, Brown, Pratt (alias Anderson), Lewis and Evans, were the makers. Broyles deVOL. CCXXXIV-5

« ПретходнаНастави »