Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. v. Charlet, No. 435.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
Writing for the CourtCAILLOUET
Citation43 F. Supp. 981
PartiesGREAT LAKES DREDGE & DOCK CO. et al. v. CHARLET, Administrator, Division of Employment Security, Louisiana Department of Labor.
Decision Date17 March 1942
Docket NumberNo. 435.

43 F. Supp. 981

GREAT LAKES DREDGE & DOCK CO. et al.
v.
CHARLET, Administrator, Division of Employment Security, Louisiana Department of Labor.

No. 435.

District Court, E. D. Louisiana, New Orleans Division.

March 17, 1942.


43 F. Supp. 982

Deutsch and Kerrigan and Eberhard P. Deutsch, all of New Orleans, La., and Ryan, Condon & Livingston, of Chicago, Ill., for plaintiffs.

W. C. Perrault, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Aubrey B. Hirsch, Gen. Counsel, Division of Employment Security, etc., of Baton Rouge, La., for defendant.

CAILLOUET, District Judge.

The eight plaintiffs herein are all engaged in the dredging business.

They seek a declaratory judgment against the Administrator of the Division of Employment Security of the Department of Labor of the State of Louisiana who is officially charged with the enforcement and administration of the Louisiana Unemployment Compensation Law, or Act No. 97 of 1936, which has been amended by Act No. 164 of 1938, Act No. 16 of the First Extra Session of 1940 and Act Nos. 10 and 11 of 1940.

As Section 18 of the statute originally read, there was excepted (Sec. 18 (g) (7) from the term "employment", as defined therein, any service "performed as an officer or member of the crew of a vessel on the navigable waters of the United States."

43 F. Supp. 983

Under the amendment by Act. No. 164 of 1938, this verbiage was changed into that which subsists until the present, so that the particular service excepted under Section 18(g) (6) (C) is that "performed as an officer or member of the crew of a vessel on the navigable waters of the United States customarily operating between ports in this State and ports outside this State" (Italics supplied).

The plaintiffs contend that insofar as this provision operates an inclusion, within the "employment" defined by the statute, of the crew officers and members of vessels owned and operated by them within the State of Louisiana, Section 18 is null, void and of no effect as violative of Section 2 of Article 3 and Section 8 of Article 1 of the Constitution of the United States; which constitutional provisions, plaintiffs aver, vest Congress with the exclusive power to legislate concerning matters within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States and deprive the States of all power to legislate relative thereto; and plaintiffs pray that there be rendered a declaratory judgment so decreeing the claimed unconstitutionality.

A motion to dismiss the action for the alleged reason that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because it does not set out a valid cause or right of action was first filed and was followed by the defendant's answer, but with full reservation of all rights under said motion to dismiss.

The defendant asserts his intention to officially enforce each and every provision of the law under attack and avers that an agreed statement of facts is on file in the record, wherefrom one may determine the character of the operations carried on by the plaintiffs, etc.

The matter was submitted to the Court upon such stipulation, which includes the following pertinent statements of fact, to-wit:

"I. The employees referred to in plaintiffs' complaint are employed in the navigation and operation of floating hydraulic, clam shell, dipper and hopper dredges, pile drivers, quarter boats, tugs, launches, barges, and other and appurtenant vessels, used for deepening, widening, improving, extending and cleaning navigable channels and other navigable waters in this State, and for creating fill and other similar operations. * * *

"IV. Dredges which are not self-propelled are towed from place to place. Many such voyages extend from one state and country to another, frequently over the high seas. In voyages from one scene of operation to another, just as during operations, the dredge and each of the other vessels involved in this cause transports her crew, machinery, equipment, fuel and supplies. On such voyages, the dredge is under command of her master and is manned by her regular officers and crew, just as when dredging. * * *

"IX. A dredge customarily has an auxiliary fleet consisting of two or more tugs, two or more motorboats, fuel barges, equipment barges, a derrick barge, a dragline barge, numerous skiffs and many pontoons. The tugs are used to tow the dredge, barges and pontoons, and the motorboats are used to transport the officers and crew between ship and shore and to carry supplies to the dredge. As their names indicate, the fuel barges are used for transporting and storing fuel, and the equipment barges are used to transport pipe and other equipment needed in the dredging operations. The derrick and dragline barges are used to transport derricks and draglines, and to move and handle pipe, anchors and other heavy equipment. * * *

"XII. All the dredges and other vessels involved in this litigation are enrolled as vessels of the United States and licensed by the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation of the Department of Commerce to engage in the coasting trade.

"XIII. The personnel of the dredge consists of the following complement of officers and crew: The master, commonly referred to as captain; first officer, generally called deck captain; purser, sometimes called paymaster; four mates; twelve or more deck hands; a chief engineer; three assistant engineers; fourth assistant engineer, sometimes called handyman; three or more engine room oilers; one to three deck oilers; three or more firemen; four levermen; a machinist and one or more helpers; a welder and one or more helpers; a ship's carpenter and helper; an electrician and helper; a chief steward, two or more cooks; three or more mess-boys; one or more cabin boys and one or more motorboat operators; four or more tug captains; and four or more tug mates or engineers; shore foreman and crew.

43 F. Supp. 984

"XIV. The duties of the officers and members of the crew of the dredges are as follows:

"(a) The master is in complete charge of the dredge and issues all orders relative to her navigation and dredging operations. He is responsible for the safety of the personnel and for the safety of the dredge.

"(b) The first officer, or deck captain, sees to it that the captain's orders are carried out. He conveys these orders to the levermen who navigate and operate the dredge, to the mates in charge of the deck hands and to the engineer in charge of the engine room.

"(c) The purser handles the usual duties of the ship's purser. He is the fiscal officer managing all finances, keeping time records, payrolls and operations logs.

"(d) The chief engineer is responsible for the proper functioning of all machinery on board. An assistant engineer is on duty on each of the watches and supervises the work of the oilers in the engine room and the firemen in the boiler room.

"(e) The mates are in charge of the various watches on deck. They supervise the work of the deck hands, which consists of the customary deck hand duties, such as scrubbing, chipping, painting, manipulating lines and pontoons, manning life boats, dropping and weighing anchors, and assisting generally in the operation and navigation of the dredge and the other craft involved in this litigation.

"(f) The ship's carpenter, machinist, welder, electrician, and their helpers, perform the duties which their designations indicate.

"(g) The steward is responsible for the food served, planning of the meals, the supplying and condition of the galley and mess hall. Four regular meals are provided daily for the officers and crew aboard the dredge, and coffee and light food are available at all hours. The cooks prepare the meals assisted by the mess boys, who also act as waiters. The cabin boys, who attend to the quarters of the men, are also under the supervision of the steward.

"(h) The tug captains are in charge of the tugs and supervise the work of their deck hands and engineers, and deck hands on the other craft, in assisting the dredge to maneuver, in towing fuel and water barges to and from sources of supply, in moving other equipment, barges, and sections of floating pipe and pontoons.

"(i) The motorboat operators maneuver and are in charge of the motorboats which transport the vessel's personnel and some minor supplies between ship and shore. The tugs are also sometimes used for these purposes.

"(j) When a hydraulic dredge does not deposit the dredged material at another location in the water in which it is operating, it deposits such material on shore or on an island known as a spoil bank. In such cases, the pipe line runs from the dredge over the water to and along the spoil bank being supported over the water by pontoons. The operation and handling of the pipe line on shore is in charge of a foreman and five assistants, who have ten or more employees under their supervision. Their duties are to locate and lay the pipe line over the land and keep it in working order; to extend the pipe line as occasion requires to distribute the dredged material flowing from its end; and to dismantle the pipe line and assemble its constituent parts. The shore crew may not ordinarily live aboard ship, but they are frequently maintained aboard quarter boats. If more than a day or two are required for the dredge to go from one place of operations to another, the shore crew is usually discharged when operations are discontinued at the first place, and re-employed when operations are commenced at the second place. * * *

"XVI. Many of the officers aboard the dredges, while not always under strict requirements in that regard, hold federal licenses. By training and experience, and the nature of the work and services rendered, the officers and crew of a dredge are required to meet the same physical, mental and disciplinary standards, and to perform functions similar to those required of any other seamen. They are afforded the facilities of U. S. Marine Hospitals, the same as any other seamen.

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5 practice notes
  • United States v. State Tax Commission, No. 72-1380
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • June 28, 1973
    ...fund required of them was unconstitutional. The district court held the tax constitutional, and was affirmed by the Court of Appeals, 43 F.Supp. 981 (E.D.La.1942), 134 F.2d 213 (5th Cir. 1943). The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of dismissal, "but solely on the ground that, in the appr......
  • City of Houston v. Standard-Triumph Motor Company, No. 21073.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 6, 1965
    ...all rights under its motion to dismiss. See the opinion of the district court in Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. v. Charlet, E.D.La.1942, 43 F.Supp. 981, 983. In the present case there was no motion to dismiss. The defendants not only formally admitted that the court had jurisdiction, but t......
  • United States v. Food and Grocery Bureau of So. Cal., No. 14952-Y.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • March 24, 1942
    ...Grayson as secretary (Exhibit J), strangely fails to condemn any of the practices which were inaugurated under the regime of Loughry, as 43 F. Supp. 981 Executive Secretary, and continued by the second Executive Secretary, Grayson, under whom Plumridge trained before he succeeded him. Its e......
  • Great Lakes Dredge Dock Co v. Huffman, No. 849
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 24, 1943
    ...district court held the statute applicable to petitioners and their employees and, as applied to them, a valid exercise of state power. 43 F.Supp. 981. The formal judgment ordered dismissal of the suit, but it is to be interpreted in the light of the court's opinion, findings, and conclusio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • United States v. State Tax Commission, No. 72-1380
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • June 28, 1973
    ...fund required of them was unconstitutional. The district court held the tax constitutional, and was affirmed by the Court of Appeals, 43 F.Supp. 981 (E.D.La.1942), 134 F.2d 213 (5th Cir. 1943). The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of dismissal, "but solely on the ground that, in the appr......
  • City of Houston v. Standard-Triumph Motor Company, No. 21073.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 6, 1965
    ...all rights under its motion to dismiss. See the opinion of the district court in Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. v. Charlet, E.D.La.1942, 43 F.Supp. 981, 983. In the present case there was no motion to dismiss. The defendants not only formally admitted that the court had jurisdiction, but t......
  • United States v. Food and Grocery Bureau of So. Cal., No. 14952-Y.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • March 24, 1942
    ...Grayson as secretary (Exhibit J), strangely fails to condemn any of the practices which were inaugurated under the regime of Loughry, as 43 F. Supp. 981 Executive Secretary, and continued by the second Executive Secretary, Grayson, under whom Plumridge trained before he succeeded him. Its e......
  • Great Lakes Dredge Dock Co v. Huffman, No. 849
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 24, 1943
    ...district court held the statute applicable to petitioners and their employees and, as applied to them, a valid exercise of state power. 43 F.Supp. 981. The formal judgment ordered dismissal of the suit, but it is to be interpreted in the light of the court's opinion, findings, and conclusio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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