152 U.S. 178 (1894), 396, United States v. Shea
|Docket Nº:||No. 396|
|Citation:||152 U.S. 178, 14 S.Ct. 519, 38 L.Ed. 403|
|Party Name:||United States v. Shea|
|Case Date:||March 05, 1894|
|Court:||United States Supreme Court|
Submitted January 8, 1894
APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF CLAIMS
S. agreed with a Deputy Quartermaster-General, who acted on behalf of the United States, to provide and furnish whenever called upon during the coming fiscal year, such vessels as might be required for a specified service in the harbor of New York. Each vessel was to have an engineer and fireman, the remainder of the crew to be supplied by the United States when required, and the fuel to be supplied by them. The payment, if employed by the day, was to be at the rate of $67 per diem for each vessel. The government was to have the management and control of the vessels while in its service. Under this contract, S. furnished a vessel called the Bowen on the requisition of the quartermaster, which was accepted by the government, and went into its service. While in government employ, a collision occurred whereby the Bowen was so damaged that it had to be laid up for repairs for 61 days. During the most of this time, S., at the government's request, furnished another vessel called the Stickney, which was accepted. He hired this vessel, paying $55 a day, and received from the government the contract price of $67 for its use. When the Bowen resumed service after the completion of the repairs, S. claimed compensation for it for the 61 days at the rate paid by him for the Stickney. Held that the contract was one for hiring, and not for service, and that the government, during its possession of the vessel, was a special owner, and bound to pay rent for it until returned to S.
The facts of this case are stated in the findings of the Court of Claims. The first is that on May 28, 1886, the petitioner entered into a contract with the Deputy Quartermaster General of the Army for and in behalf of the United States, the important articles of which are as follows:
ARTICLE 1. That the said Daniel Shea shall provide and furnish to the party of the first part, whenever called upon during the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, such vessels of the descriptions hereinafter given as may be required to take the place of the vessels now performing service for the U.S. Army between New York city and Governor's Island, New York, Governor's Island and Sandy Hook, and New York harbor generally, respectively,
the steamers Atlantic, Ordnance, and Chester A. Arthur; that the vessels furnished as aforesaid must each have an engineer and fireman and conform to the following conditions, viz.: the steamer to take the place of the Chester A. Arthur must be of about the size and the character of the Chester A. Arthur, and the steamers to take the places of the Atlantic and Ordance, respectively, must have the capacity for freight and passengers, and be of the size and character, of the steamer James Bowen, and that all the vessels furnished must be staunch, in first-class order in every respect, well equipped, and conform fully to the requirements of the law.
It is further agreed that the fuel required by said vessels so furnished while in service under this agreement shall be supplied by the government, and that this contract shall commence on the first day of July, eighteen hundred and eighty-six.
And it is further agreed that the party of the second part shall furnish, when required, the remainder of the crew, consisting of a captain, a mate, two deck hands, and a fireman. . . .
* * * *
ART. 4. That for and in consideration of the faithful performance of the stipulations of this agreement, the party of the second part shall be paid at the office of the Disbursing Quartermaster, U.S. Army, at New York City, as follows: the sum of sixty-seven (67) dollars per day for each vessel employed, including the engineer and the fireman, when employed by the day, and the sum of ten (10) dollars per hour for each vessel employed, including the engineer and the fireman, when employed by the hour, and for the said remainder of the crew, when required, the sum of thirteen dollars per day.
ART. 5. That in case of failure of the said party of the second part to comply with the [14 S.Ct. 520] stipulations of this contract according to the true intent and meaning thereof, then the party of the first part shall have the power to hire vessels elsewhere in open market at the sole expense and charge of the party of the second part.
The second and third findings are as follows:
2. After the making of said contract, and before the expiration of the fiscal year (June 30, 1887), upon being called
upon by the Quartermaster's Department therefor, the claimant provided and furnished a vessel called the James Bowen, then staunch, in first-class order in every respect, well equipped, and conforming fully to the requirements of the law, and with such part of the crew as the claimant was required by the contract to furnish, and the same was accepted and used by the defendants.
3. On the first day of January, 1887, while in the service and under the exclusive management and control of the quartermaster's department, and having an unlicensed captain or pilot, said vessel was damaged in a collision with a ferryboat, in consequence of which she was necessarily laid up for repairs until March 2 of the same year, when, on the next day, she resumed work.
The collision occurred during a fog, and the supervising inspectors, on an investigation, found that it was accidental, and was not due to inattention, unskillfulness, or lack of precaution on the part of the pilots. The cost of repairs was paid by the claimant.
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