288 U.S. 445 (1933), 469, Vancouver Steamship Co., Ltd. v. Rice

Docket Nº:No. 469
Citation:288 U.S. 445, 53 S.Ct. 420, 77 L.Ed. 885
Party Name:Vancouver Steamship Co., Ltd. v. Rice
Case Date:March 13, 1933
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 445

288 U.S. 445 (1933)

53 S.Ct. 420, 77 L.Ed. 885

Vancouver Steamship Co., Ltd.



No. 469

United States Supreme Court

March 13, 1933

Argued February 9, 1933




A stevedore at work on a vessel in navigable waters in Oregon received injuries through the vessel's negligence from which he afterwards died ashore. The Oregon law gave the administrator an action at law for the damages resulting from the death, and a lien on the vessel.

Held that the cause of action was enforceable in admiralty in rem against the vessel. P. 447.

60 F.2d 793 affirmed.

Certiorari, 287 U.S. 593, to review the reversal of a decree dismissing a libel in admiralty.

Page 446

BUTLER, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE BUTLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioner is the owner of the steamship City of Vancouver. December 1, 1929, she was at Westport, Oregon, in navigable waters of the Columbia taking on a cargo of lumber. Respondent's intestate was employed by contracting stevedores who were loading her. While upon the deck of the ship helping in that work he was struck by a falling sling load of lumber and mortally injured. He was taken ashore, where he died an hour later. Respondent was appointed his administratrix and, electing under the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, § 33 (33 U.S.C. § 933) to assert her claim against a third party, filed a libel in admiralty in the District Court of Oregon against the ship, claiming on behalf of his estate damages in the sum of $10,000. The libel alleged in substance that intestate's death was caused by reason of petitioner's negligence in respect of the ship's winch which was being used to hoist the lumber.

Page 447

Petitioner excepted to the libel, asserting that the cause of action arose on land, and not upon the water, and that therefore the case is not within the admiralty jurisdiction. The district court so held, and dismissed the libel. The Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. 60 F.2d 793.

The Oregon statute creating a cause of action for death by wrongful act provides:

When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, the personal representatives of the former may maintain an action at law therefor against the latter if the former might have maintained an action, had he lived, against the latter for an injury done by the same act or omission.

Oregon Code 1930, § 5-703. And the Oregon Boat Lien Law declares that every boat or vessel shall be subject to a lien "for damages or injuries [done] by such boat or vessel resulting in the death of any person." Section...

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