101 F. 591 (2nd Cir. 1900), 123, Moore v. Sun Printing & Publishing Ass'n

Docket Nº:123.
Citation:101 F. 591
Case Date:April 03, 1900
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Page 591

101 F. 591 (2nd Cir. 1900)




No. 123.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

April 3, 1900

George Zabriskie, for libelant.

Franklin Bartlett, for respondent.

Before WALLACE, LACOMBE, and SHIPMAN, Circuit Judges.

WALLACE, Circuit judge.

The yacht Kanapaha, owned by the libelant, was wrecked by stranding upon a reef on the northerly shore of the island of Cuba, about 2 1/2 miles from the shore, and about

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7 1/2 miles from Nuevitas, while proceeding westward to the port of Havana, and became a total loss. Her owner brought this action to recover her value against the Sun Printing & Publishing Association, as the charterer of the yacht, under whose control and management she was at the time. The charter provided that at the expiration of the charter term (four months,-- from June 1 to October 1, 1898) the charterer would return the yacht 'in as good condition as at the start, fair wear and tear from reasonable and proper use only excepted. ' It also provided that the charterer should be 'liable and responsible for any and all loss and damage to hull, machinery, equipment, tackle, spars, furniture, and the like,' and that the charterer should 'procure security and guaranty to and for the owner in the sum of $75,000 to secure any and all losses and damages which may occur to said boat or its belongings which may be sustained by the owner by reason of such loss or damage, and by reason of the breach of any of the terms or conditions of this contract. ' The libel alleged the breach of these conditions, and also alleged that the yacht was lost by the negligent navigation of the charterer. The court below decreed in favor of the libelant, awarding him a recovery of $65,000, with interest. (D.C.) 95 F. 485. Both parties have appealed from the decree, the defendant insisting that it was not liable at all, and the libelant insisting that the damages awarded should have been $75,000 and interest.

That the Sun Printing & Publishing Association was the charterer of the yacht, notwithstanding Chester S. Lord was named as such in the contract, and that the corporation sanctioned and ratified his act in entering into the charter, we entertain no doubt; and we fully agree with the learned judge who decided the cause in the court below in respect to these propositions, and deem it necessary to enlarge upon the very satisfactory reasons assigned in his opinion. As the defendant was the real principal, the libelant was entitled to enforce the contract against it, notwithstanding it purported to be a contract of the agent. Steamship Co. v. Harbison, 21 Blatchf. 332, 336, 16 F. 688.

It is insisted for the charterer that the yacht perished without any fault on the part of those who were navigating her, and, consequently, that the case is one for the application of the principle, well settled in the law of bailments, that the hirer is absolved from further obligation where the hired thing is destroyed without his fault, so that redelivery to the bailor is impossible. This principle is deduced from the implied conditions of a contract of bailment by which the bailee only undertakes to exercise due care in the use of the article hired, and to restore it to the bailor in as good condition as when received, unless it be destroyed or deteriorated by...

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