303 U.S. 525 (1938), 594, Calmar Steamship Corp. v. Taylor

Docket Nº:No. 594
Citation:303 U.S. 525, 58 S.Ct. 651, 82 L.Ed. 993
Party Name:Calmar Steamship Corp. v. Taylor
Case Date:March 28, 1938
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 525

303 U.S. 525 (1938)

58 S.Ct. 651, 82 L.Ed. 993

Calmar Steamship Corp.



No. 594

United States Supreme Court

March 28, 1938

Argued March 9, 1938




1. The right of a seaman to maintenance and cure for an illness which befalls him during his service may continue for a period beyond the duration of the voyage, whether he be at home or abroad, and even though the illness be not caused by the employment. P. 529.

2. In the case of a seaman suffering from an incurable disease, which manifested itself during his employment but was not caused by it, the duty of the ship owner to furnish maintenance and cure does not extend beyond a fair time after the voyage in which to effect such improvement in the seaman's condition as reasonably may be expected to result from nursing, care, and medical treatment. P. 530.

3. In a suit brought by a seaman suffering from an incurable disease, which manifested itself during his employment though not caused thereby, an award of a lump sum in anticipation of a continuing need of maintenance and cure for life (based on his life expectancy) cannot be sustained. P. 530.

4. The seaman's recovery in each such case must be measured by the reasonable cost of that maintenance and cure to which he is entitled at the time of the trial, including, in the discretion of the court, such amounts as may be needful in the immediate future for the maintenance and cure of a kind and for a period which can be definitely ascertained. P. 531.

92 F.2d 84 reversed.

Certiorari, 302 U.S. 681, to review a decree affirming an award against the steamship company in a suit in admiralty for maintenance and cure.

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STONE, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.

The question for decision is whether the duty of a shipowner to provide maintenance and cure for a seaman falling ill of an incurable disease while in its employ extends to the payment of a lump sum award sufficient to defray the cost of maintenance and cure for the remainder of his life.

Respondent was a member of the crew of petitioner's steamship Losmar. Following an injury to his foot, allegedly caused by stubbing his toe against an object lying on the floor of the boiler room where he was employed, respondent was found to be afflicted with thrombo angiitis obliterans, otherwise known as Buerger's disease, an incurable malady of the veins and arteries. It is attended by interruptions of the blood stream, with consequent malnutrition of the affected parts, producing lesions, deteriorating changes of the tissues, and gangrene. Medical treatment and amputation of the affected parts may halt the advance of the disease, but its manifestations are likely to recur in other parts of the body, and medical opinion is that the disease tends to be progressive, and may ultimately cause death . Care and treatment at frequent intervals, with periodic medical observation of the patient, are of aid in arresting its progress.

After February 12, 1935, when respondent was first hospitalized, he was given treatment at various marine hospitals in the course of which he suffered four amputations upon the right foot and leg. On October 3, 1935, after his leg had been amputated below the knee, he

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was discharged to the "Outpatient Department to return at intervals for reexamination...

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