282 U.S. 234 (1931), 32, Uravic v. F. Jarka Co., Inc.

Docket Nº:No. 32
Citation:282 U.S. 234, 51 S.Ct. 111, 75 L.Ed. 312
Party Name:Uravic v. F. Jarka Co., Inc.
Case Date:January 05, 1931
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 234

282 U.S. 234 (1931)

51 S.Ct. 111, 75 L.Ed. 312



F. Jarka Co., Inc.

No. 32

United States Supreme Court

Jan. 5, 1931

Argued December 8, 1930



Section 33 of the Merchant Marine Act, which, in connection with the Employers' Liability Act, gives an action at common law to

Page 235

the personal representative of any "seaman" suffering death from injuries received in the course of his employment, even where such injuries are due to the negligence of a fellow servant, extends to the case of an American stevedore while engaged in unloading, in American waters, a private foreign ship. P. 237.

252 N.Y. 530 reversed.

Certiorari, 281 U.S. 708, to review a judgment of the Supreme Court of New York, entered on remittitur from the Court of Appeals. The judgment affirmed the dismissal of the complaint in a death action brought against the Jarka Company, an American stevedoring company, by the administratrix.

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HOLMES, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is an action that was brought in a court of the State of New York and tried before a jury. At the close of the plaintiff's case, the complaint was dismissed upon the merits and the decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals, 252 N.Y. 530, 170 N.E. 131, on the authority of Resigno v. F. Jarka Co., 248 N.Y. 225, 162 N.E. 13. A writ of certiorari was granted by this Court, 281 U.S. 70, because there is involved an important question as to the applicability of the Jones Act, Act March 4, 1915, c. 153, § 20, as amended by the Act of June 5, 1920, c. 250, § 33, 41 Stat. 988, 1007; U.S.Code, Title 46, § 688.

The action was for causing the death of the plaintiff's intestate, Anton Uravic, an American citizen, employed

Page 238

in work as a stevedore by the F. Jarka Company, a Delaware corporation. The suit against the other defendant named was discontinued. At the time of receiving the injury that caused his death, July 13, 1926, Uravic was helping to unload a vessel flying the German flag in the harbor of New York. He was on the vessel at the time, and we are to take it that he was hurt by the negligence of a fellow [51 S.Ct. 112] servant. That fact was no defence if the above-mentioned § 33 governed, because it is not one in the case of railway employees; Act of the April 22, 1908, c. 149, § 1, 35 Stat. 65; U.S.Code, Tit. 45, § 51, and this § 33, giving an action at common law to the personal representative of any seaman suffering death in the course of his employment, makes applicable all statutes of the United States conferring or regulating such right of action in the case of railway employees. It is decided that stevedores come within the benefits conferred by § 33. International Stevedoring Co. v. Haverty, 272 U.S. 50. But the question is raised whether the statute applies to a stevedore working on a vessel that we assume to have been German, since she flew the German flag.

The language of the statute is general. The right is given to "any seaman," including, as we have said, stevedores. The jurisdiction and the authority of Congress to deal with the matter are unquestionable and unquestioned. Cunard Steamship Co. v. Mellon, 262 U.S. 100, 124 et seq. The conduct regulated is of universal concern. The rights of a citizen within the territorial limits of the country are more extensively determined by the scope of actions for torts than even by the law of crimes. There is strong reason for giving the same protection to the person of those who work in our harbors when they are working upon a German ship than they would receive when working upon an American ship in the next dock, as is especially obvious in the case of stevedores,...

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