181 F. 325 (2nd Cir. 1910), 308, Pennsylvania Steel Co. v. Lakkonen

Docket Nº:308.
Citation:181 F. 325
Case Date:August 01, 1910
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Page 325

181 F. 325 (2nd Cir. 1910)




No. 308.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

August 1, 1910

Page 326

Battle & Marshall (H. S. Marshall, of counsel), for plaintiff in error.

H. Powell and Jacob C. Brand (John B. Stanchfield and M. Spencer Bevins, of counsel), for defendant in error.

LACOMBE, Circuit Judge.

The action is brought under the employer's liability act of the state of New York (Laws 1902, c. 600). Decedent was on the day in question in the employ of the steel company, which was erecting the Blackwell's Island bridge and was working under the charge of a subforeman or 'pusher' named Drummond. He was working at the bottom of a post constructed of plates riveted together with lacings on the sides. These posts would be put in place by putting a pin through a hole at one end, connecting the tackle of a

Page 327

derrick with the pin and lifting the post to a proper position. This post has thus been put in place and the next step was to remove the lifting pin, which was still in the post and attached to the block and fall. The pin was 14 to 16 inches in diameter about 3 1/2 feet long, and was held in place with a washer or saucer on each end of it. The washer weighs 40 to 60 pounds, is fastened on to a bolt or rod which runs through pin and washer and projects beyond the washer, the latter being kept in place by a nut which is screwed on the end of the bolt. To remove the pin, it was necessary first to unscrew the nut and take off the washer. In removing the pin from the post, the washer was permitted to fall to the ground a distance of about 40 feet. It struck Lakkonen and killed him. James Headrich was the general foreman of the work in question, having under him Drummond and other pushers. The state courts have held that a pusher such as Drummond is a superintendent within the meaning of the act. Drummond told two of the men under him, Peterson and Davis, to go up the post and get the pin out. He went up with them himself, and was at the top of the post when the accident happened. His narrative of what took place there is as follows:

'The pin was already fastened to the fall as it hadn't been disturbed from the day the post was connected; and, it being there was a strain on the fall, I had him (apparently the winchman) slacken off to release the strain-- I had to pull the pin a little one side to drop it on the bolt that went through the center. There was play enough to allow two inches (of side movement). By so doing it would leave a space big enough for a man to get both hands in-- for two men to get each one hand in to hold the saucer. I gave a signal to go ahead on the fall-- intending to stop him when he got the weight of the pin so that I could move it either way. The engine went ahead. The first time he went ahead so far that I had to make him lower again. He lowered so much that I had to make him go ahead again; and between the time I had given the signal and got the answer to my signal the nut was taken off, and when the strain came on the fall the pin floated south and the saucer fell. I had not seen Davis take this nut off-- I looked over the side before I gave the signal to go ahead with the fall and the nut was out-- I saw the nut and the saucer-- Davis was leaning sideways. His hands were straight in towards the column or...

To continue reading