Decision Date07 February 1938
Docket NumberNo. E-8419.,E-8419.
Citation22 F. Supp. 65
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of New York

Alexander, Ash & Jones, of New York City (Lawson R. Jones and Edward Ash, both of New York City, of counsel), for complainants.

Harold St. L. O'Dougherty, U. S. Atty., of Brooklyn, N. Y. (Clarence Wilson, Asst. U. S. Atty., of Brooklyn, N. Y., of counsel), for defendant.

Gerald I. McCarthy, of New York City, for Amalie Johnson.

BYERS, District Judge.

This is an injunction proceeding as contemplated by section 21 of the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, title 33 U.S.C. § 921, 33 U.S.C.A. § 921, by which the employer and the insurer seek to enjoin the payment of death benefits required by compensation order dated November 1, 1937, as to all payments accruing on and after October 1, 1937, and that the said order be suspended, vacated, and set aside.

The funeral expenses and death benefits from date of death to October 1, 1937, have been paid, and the complainants seek relief as to subsequently accruing death benefits.

The facts are not in dispute, and the material allegations in the bill of complaint having to do with occurrences relied upon to justify the award are admitted.

On October 30, 1936, Thorlief Johnson, the decedent, being a bargee in the employ of the Metropolitan Sand & Gravel Corporation, was in charge of barge 148, which was taken in tow with five others at 110th street and Harlem River, New York City, around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, all light, to be towed to Port Washington, L. I. As first made up, the barges were two abreast, but later they were singled in tandem with short lines between the barges. Johnson's barge 148 was the hawser vessel in the tow.

The trip was completed between 10 and 11 p. m., when, because of weather conditions, the barges were made fast at a stake-boat outside of Hempstead Harbor, at which time it was discovered that Johnson had disappeared; later his body was recovered, but the place where it was found does not appear in the evidence.

Soon after the trip was begun, Johnson left his barge and made his way back to the fourth barge in the tier, for the purpose of having his evening meal with the captain of that craft and two others. He there remained until around 9 o'clock, when he started to make his way back to his own craft, and that was the last seen of him.

On departure, the wind was of 25 mile force out of the northwest, which increased around 7 o'clock to 50 miles, which prevailed at 9 o'clock when Johnson left his companions.

The single point presented by the record is whether Johnson abandoned his employment by leaving his barge as stated and remaining away from it for a period of approximately four hours.

The deputy commissioner has made "findings of fact" from which the following are quoted: (1) "that with the wind in the northwest, the water was not unduly rough; that while en route, the deceased had no duties to perform except to watch his lights, and in bad weather, his lines;" (2) "that barge captains frequently congregate on one of the barges when under tow to have a meal together; that while on the barge upon which he went for supper, the deceased could still see as to whether the lights on his own barge were burning or not; that there were two lines from his barge to the tug, and that the probability of both lines parting or damage to the barge resulting by parting of the lines while under tow, considering the weather and water conditions on...

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2 cases
  • Durrah v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit
    • April 30, 1985
    ...boundaries of routine compensation coverage. Lisonbee v. Chicago Mill & Lumber Co., 278 So.2d 5 (La.1973); Metropolitan Sand & Gravel Corp. v. Lowe, 22 F.Supp. 65 (E.D.N.Y.1938). In sharp contrast, the fateful staircase here came with the territory. 7 It was part of the employment scene for......
  • Penn Stevedoring Corporation v. Cardillo
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • August 28, 1947
    ...of no abandonment is "not in accordance with law," 33 U.S.C.A. § 921(b). The cases are distinguishable. In Metropolitan Sand & Gravel Corp. v. Lowe, D.C.E.D.N.Y.1938, 22 F.Supp. 65, the deceased employee, a barge captain, had violated the clear duty of remaining with his barge. In the case ......

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