330 F.2d 554 (5th Cir. 1964), 20734, Clark v. Symonette Shipyards, Limited

Docket Nº:20734.
Citation:330 F.2d 554
Party Name:Lee CLARK, A minor by his father and natural guardian, Carl B. Clark, et al., Appellants, v. SYMONETTE SHIPYARDS, LTD., Appellee. SYMONETTE SHIPYARDS, LTD., Appellant, v. Lee CLARK, A minor by his father and natural guardian, Carl B. Clark, et al., Appellees.
Case Date:March 19, 1964
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 554

330 F.2d 554 (5th Cir. 1964)

Lee CLARK, A minor by his father and natural guardian, Carl B. Clark, et al., Appellants,

v.

SYMONETTE SHIPYARDS, LTD., Appellee.

SYMONETTE SHIPYARDS, LTD., Appellant,

v.

Lee CLARK, A minor by his father and natural guardian, Carl B. Clark, et al., Appellees.

No. 20734.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

March 19, 1964

Rehearing Denied April 21, 1964.

Arthur Roth, Miami, Fla., for appellants.

W. F. Parker, Miami, Fla., for appellee.

Before TUTTLE, Chief Judge, and PHILLIPS [*] and JONES, Circuit judges.

TUTTLE, Chief Judge.

This is an appeal of the consolidated cases of an injured person and the personal representative of a deceased person from an adverse judgment by the trial

Page 555

court in admiralty holding that the ship on which they were injured was not unseaworthy, and holding further that their injuries were caused solely by their own negligence, and that they were thus not entitled to recover. The trial court allowed the injured person a recovery of $1,000 for maintenance and cure and allowed the personal representative of the deceased person the sum of $1250 for funeral expenses. These allowances are the subject of a cross appeal by the Symonette Shipyards, Ltd.

Although the record, as it comes to us, is greatly complicated by the fact that here were at least three actions by each of two persons on varying theories of liability, and that there were four amended complaints filed before the case terminated, the issues finally come within a fairly simple compass. The issue is: Were these appellants seamen, at least to the extent that they were protected by the doctrine of unseaworthiness, and, if so, was the trial court's finding that the death and injury complained of were solely caused by the negligence of the individuals and not by the events preceding it, which the trial court found to be palpably negligent, clearly erroneous?

The facts necessary to be stated in order to pose the issues accurately are as follows: Lee Clark, a minor, and Albert Zannino were two of six men who were employees of one Wilson who had a contract to erect certain petroleum product tanks in Haiti. Wilson arranged for the transportation of the tanks together with the necessary equipment to be used in their erection on a landing craft owned by Symonette Shipyards, Ltd. As a part of the agreement of transportation Symonette, acting through its proper representative, agreed with Wilson to transport the six men with the understanding that in order to comply with the laws of the Bahamas the men would have to be signed on as if they were members of the crew, although it was agreed that they should perform no duties for the ship. This subterfuge was to obviate the penalty that the ship would be subjected to if it carried passengers, since under the Bahama regulations it was not permitted to land with passengers. Included in the equipment put on board was a large crane...

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