159 A. 19 (Pa. 1932), 136, Bainbridge v. Merchants & Miners Transportation Co

Docket Nº:136
Citation:159 A. 19, 306 Pa. 204
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:Bainbridge, Appellant, v. Merchants and Miners Transportation Co
Attorney:Edwin J. McDermott, with him William Charles Brown, for appellant. James W. West, 3d, and Frank H. Massey, 2d, for appellee, were not heard.
Case Date:February 03, 1932
Court:Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Page 19

159 A. 19 (Pa. 1932)

306 Pa. 204

Bainbridge, Appellant,


Merchants and Miners Transportation Co

No. 136

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

February 3, 1932

Argued: January 5, 1932

Appeal, No. 136, Jan. T., 1932, by plaintiff, from order of C.P. No. 4, Phila. Co., Dec. T., 1929, No. 5629, making absolute rule to dismiss action for want of jurisdiction, in case of Anna S. Bainbridge v. Merchants & Miners Transportation Company. Affirmed.

Trespass for personal injuries.

Rule to dismiss action for want of jurisdiction. Before FINLETTER, P.J.

From the record it appeared that the action was brought in Philadelphia against a foreign corporation having its principal place of business in Baltimore, and that the accident happened on board of a vessel owned by defendant, in the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. Other facts appear by the opinion of the court below, as follows by FINLETTER, P.J.:

This is a suit to recover damages for personal injuries sustained by a seaman, alleged to have been caused by the negligence of the defendant.

It therefore is based upon section 33 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, U.S. Code, title 46, section 688, 41 Statutes at Large 1007, commonly called the Jones Act.

Defendant raised the question of jurisdiction by petition presented immediately after the filing of plaintiff's statement. Until the statement was filed, defendant could not know whether or not plaintiff's intended claim was under the Merchant Marine Act. The summons might relate to any action of trespass. When by the statement it was evident that plaintiff had elected to proceed under the act, defendant made prompt objection to the jurisdiction.

Before the passage of the Jones Act seamen possessed the following remedies: (1) an action in rem in the federal courts for maintenance and cure, wages, and indemnity, if the vessel is unseaworthy; (2) an action in personam in either federal or state courts for the like causes; to which is added by section 33 of the Jones Act an action for damages for negligence in either the state or federal courts.

It was determined in Engel v. Davenport, 271 U.S. 33, 46 S.Ct. 410, 70 L.Ed. 813, that jurisdiction is concurrent in both state and federal courts.

Question is raised in the instant case whether the jurisdiction of the state courts is limited to the district of the residence of the defendant, or, in the case of a corporation, to the district of its principal office; or whether, on the other hand,...

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