44 F. 498 (E.D.Mich. 1890), The Alaska

Citation:44 F. 498
Party Name:THE ALASKA.
Case Date:September 29, 1890
Court:United States District Courts, 6th Circuit, Eastern District of Michigan

Page 498

44 F. 498 (E.D.Mich. 1890)


United States District Court, E.D. Michigan.

September 29, 1890

Syllabus by the Court

The libelant in a collision suit is entitled to recover such damages as naturally follow from the negligence of the respondent, and to have his vessel restored as nearly as possible to her condition before the collision.

Where the injured vessel was beached after the collision, and a bargain was made for a lump sum to take her off and carry her to a port of safety, and the sum agreed upon was actually paid, held that, if there was no fraud and no want of reasonable judgment in making the bargain, the amount paid was a just charge against the vessel in fault, although it was shown that the vessel might, in fact, have been gotten off for a much less sum. Held, also, that the owner of the injured vessel was entitled to his expenses for coming to look after the wreck.

The practice is also to allow the cost of the survey as one of the incidental expenses of the collision.

The cost of repairs was also allowed, although it exceeded largely the estimated cost, and made the vessel a better and a stronger one than she was before.

Interest upon bills incurred for salvage and repairs is a matter of discretion, and in view of the fact that the vessel was made more valuable by the repairs than she was before the collision, and of some doubt as to whether the entire bill ought to be charged against the respondent, it was held that interest should be refused.

The expenses of a convoy to an injured vessel should not be allowed unless the necessity for such convoy be clearly shown.

This was a libel for collision between the steam-barge Oregon and the steamer Alaska, which occurred on Saturday, November 27, 1886, at a point about six miles below Amherstburg, and near the mouth of the Detroit river. The case was suffered to go by default at the hearing, when a decree was entered for the libelant, with the usual order of reference to a commissioner to assess and report the damages.

After the collision the Oregon steamed to Amherstburg in about 55 minutes, and from there was taken across the river, and beached on Bois Blanc island. On Monday she was raised and towed to Detroit. On Tuesday she was placed in the Detroit dry-dock, and temporarily repaired, and on Wednesday she was started for Buffalo; and, after being held at Amherstburg for 12 hours, by reason of an accident to her convoy, arrived at Buffalo on the morning of December 3d, and was moored at Mills & Co.'s dry-dock. On the 8th of December, and while lying in the river at Buffalo, she was inspected and surveyed by three persons, one of whom, Mr. Humble, was chosen by the owners; another, Mr. Parsons, by the underwriters, and the third was Gilchrist, one of the owners. This survey was made about two months before she was placed in dry-dock for repairs. In the mean time, work was being done upon her by her owners.

Prior to her leaving Detroit the owners of the Alaska employed three persons to make a survey of the damages to the Oregon while she was in dry-dock here.

Page 499

F. H. Canfield, for libelants.

S. S. Babcock, for claimants.

BROWN, J., (after stating the facts as above.)

Upon filing the commissioner's report claimant excepted to the allowance of the following items:

1. To the bill of A. N. Moffat for raising the Oregon after the accident and taking her to Detroit, $750. The testimony shows that a bargain was made with Moffat for a lump sum, and that the bill was actually paid. This makes a prima facie case, and renders it incumbent upon the claimant to show either that the money was not paid, which is not attempted, or that there was fraud in the transaction, or that the bargain was not made in the exercise of reasonable judgment. It appears that late upon Saturday evening Gilchrist, one of the owners, came from Vermillion, Ohio, to Detroit, bringing Schuck, one of the other owners, with him. Maytham, another owner, arrived here from Buffalo Sunday morning, the 28th of November, and brought Humble, the foreman of the dry-dock company in...

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