276 U.S. 179 (1928), 186, T. Smith & Son, Inc. v. Taylor

Docket Nº:No. 186
Citation:276 U.S. 179, 48 S.Ct. 228, 72 L.Ed. 520
Party Name:T. Smith & Son, Inc. v. Taylor
Case Date:February 20, 1928
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 179

276 U.S. 179 (1928)

48 S.Ct. 228, 72 L.Ed. 520

T. Smith & Son, Inc.



No. 186

United States Supreme Court

Feb. 20, 1928

Argued January 18, 1928




While a longshoreman, employed in the unloading of a vessel at dock, was standing upon a stage that rested solely upon the wharf and projected a few feet over the water to or near the vessel, he was struck by a sling loaded with cargo, which was being lowered over her side, and was knocked into the water, where some time later he was found dead.

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Held, that the right of action for his death was controlled by the state, and not by the maritime, law, since, though the death occurred in the water, the occurrence which was the sole, immediate, and proximate cause of it and gave rise to the cause of action, was on the wharf, which was to be deemed an extension of the land. P. 181.

5 La.Ct.App. 284 affirmed.

Error to a judgment of the Court of Appeal of Louisiana affirming a recovery under the state workmen's compensation law. The supreme court of the state denied a writ of certiorari.

BUTLER, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE BUTLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

March 12, 1925, plaintiff in error, a stevedoring corporation, was unloading a vessel lying in the Mississippi at a dock in New Orleans. George Taylor was in its employ as a longshoreman, and came to his death while engaged in that work. Defendant in error is his widow, and brought this suit in the Civil District Court of Orleans Parish under the Louisiana Workmen's Compensation Law * to recover compensation for herself and children. The district court gave judgment for them; the court of appeal affirmed, and its presiding judge, after the state supreme court had denied a writ of certiorari, allowed the writ of error that brings the case here.

Plaintiff in error maintained below, and here insists, that this is a case exclusively within the admiralty and maritime

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jurisdiction, and that, while the state compensation law is broad enough to apply to longshoremen unloading vessels, its application in this case violates § 2 of Article III of the Constitution, which extends the judicial power of the United States "to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction," and also that clause of § 8 of Article I, which authorizes Congress to make laws for carrying into effect the powers granted by the...

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