Parker v. Motor Boat Sales, No. 46

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBLACK
Citation314 U.S. 244,62 S.Ct. 221,86 L.Ed. 184
PartiesPARKER, Deputy Commissioner, United States Employees' Compensation Commission, v. MOTOR BOAT SALES, Inc
Docket NumberNo. 46
Decision Date08 December 1941

314 U.S. 244
62 S.Ct. 221
86 L.Ed. 184
PARKER, Deputy Commissioner, United States Employees' Compensation Commission,

v.

MOTOR BOAT SALES, Inc.

No. 46.
Argued Nov. 19, 1941.
Decided Dec. 8, 1941.
Rehearing Denied Jan. 5, 1942.

See 314 U.S. 716, 62 S.Ct. 477, 86 L.Ed. —-.

Messrs. Francis Biddle, Atty. Gen., and Francis M. Shea, Asst. Atty. Gen., for petitioner.

Mr. Minitree Jones Fulton, of Richmond, Va., for respondent.

Mr. Justice BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

August 18, 1938, George Armistead was drowned when a motor boat in which he was riding capsized on the James

Page 245

River off Richmond, Virginia. The boat was navigated by one Johnnie Cooper. Both Armistead and Cooper were employees of the respondent, Motor Boat Sales, Incorporated, which sold small boats, maritime supplies, and outboard motors. The object of the illfated boat trip was to test one of the respondent's outboard motors, which it desired to sell, and later did sell, to the owner of the boat. The petitioner, Deputy Commissioner of the United States Employees' Compensation Commission, under authority of Section 19 of the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 44 Stat. 1424, 1435, 33 U.S.C.A. § 919, after complaint, investigation, and hearings, ordered the respondent to pay compensation to Armistead's widow for the benefit of herself and three minor children. Among the findings on which the Deputy based his order were these: that Armistead's death by drowning, 'arose out of and in the course of his employment; that his death occurred upon navigable waters; and that at the time of his death he was engaged in maritime employment.' Section 21(b) of the Act, 33 U.S.C.A. § 921(b), provides that if a Deputy Commissioner's award is not made in accordance with law, Federal District Courts may enjoin enforcement of it upon petition of any party in interest. In proceedings initiated by the respondent under this section, the District Court sustained the award, dismissing the bill on the ground that the findings of fact were supported by evidence and were therefore conclusive, and that the Commissioner's conclusions and award were in accordance with law. The Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, advancing two reasons for its conclusion: (1) Armistead was not acting in the course of his employment at the time of the accident; and (2) even if he had been, recovery was barred by Section 3(a) of the Act, 33 U.S.C.A. § 903(a), making compensation payable 'only if * * * recovery for the disability or death through workmen's compensation proceedings may not validly be provided by State law.'

(1) The Circuit Court's conclusion that Armistead was not acting in the course of his employment rests upon a

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revaluation of the evidence before the Deputy Commissioner. It is true that the respondent's president testified that 'George was cautioned never to go into a boat or have anything to do with a boat or motor', but this rule was laid down 'prior to November 1937' and the accident occurred in August, 1938. Against whatever inferences to be drawn from testimony regarding this general and rather remotely announced rule are the inferences to be drawn from testimony that on the morning of the accident Armistead was sent to the river with specific instructions to help Cooper in placing the outboard motors on the boat: that there were no specific instructions as to whether or not Armistead was to stay out of the boat; that either Armistead or Cooper was told that Armistead was 'to go and help' Cooper; that Cooper, the superior of the two employees, at least acquiesced in Armistead's remaining in the boat to 'keep a lookout' for hidden objects in the muddy water; that Cooper regarded Armistead's acting as look out as 'helpful'; that employees of the respondent would sometimes make trips in boats for testing purposes, in furtherance of respondent's business; and that in one such instance an employee had taken a boat on a trip of at least fifty miles in respondent's behalf. Granting that more than one possible conclusion could have been reached upon the evidence, we think it was clearly sufficient to support the Deputy Commissioner's finding that Armistead was acting in the course of his employment. The Circuit Court of Appeals should therefore have accepted it as final. Voehl v. Indemnity Ins. Co., 288 U.S. 162, 53 S.Ct. 380, 77 L.Ed. 676, 87 A.L.R. 245.

(2) The Circuit Court (116 F.2d 789, 793), was of the opinion that even if Armistead had acted in the course of his employment, the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Act would not apply because his employment was 'so local in character' that Virginia could validly have included it under a state workmen's compensation act. This proposition cannot be rested on the ground that Armistead,

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hired primarily as a janitor and porter, was predominantly a non-maritime employee. For habitual performance of other and different duties on land cannot alter the fact that at the time of the accident he was riding in a boat on a navigable river, and it is in connection with that clearly maritime activity1 that the award was here made. Cf. Northern Coal Co. v. Strand, 278 U.S. 142, 144, 49 S.Ct. 88, 73 L.Ed. 232; Employers' Liability Assurance Corp. v. Cook, 281 U.S. 233, 236, 50 S.Ct. 308, 309, 74 L.Ed. 823. Moreover, Section 2(4) of the Act, 33 U.S.C.A. § 902(4), expressly provides for its application to 'employees (who) are employed * * * in whole or in part, upon the navigable waters of the United States.'

If the conclusion of the Circuit Court can be supported at all, it must be on the basis that the employment, even though maritime and therefore within an area in which Congress could have...

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155 practice notes
  • National Labor Relations Board v. Hearst Publications Same v. Stockholders Pub Co Same v. Co 8212 339, TIMES-MIRROR
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 24, 1944
    ...309 U.S. 251, 60 S.Ct. 544, 547, 84 L.Ed. 732) or that he was injured 'in the course of his employment' (Parker v. Motor Boat Sales, Inc., 314 U.S. 244, 62 S.Ct. 221, 222, 86 L.Ed. 184) and the Federal Communications Commission's determination36 that one company is under the 'control' of an......
  • Bienvenu v. Texaco, Inc., No. 96-60625
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 11, 1999
    ...103 S.Ct. at 642-45 (discussing Davis v. Department of Labor, 317 U.S. 249, 63 S.Ct. 225, 87 L.Ed. 246 (1942); Parker v. Motor Boat Sales, 314 U.S. 244, 62 S.Ct. 221, 86 L.Ed. 184 (1941); and Calbeck v. Travelers Ins. Co., 370 U.S. 114, 82 S.Ct. 1196, 8 L.Ed.2d 368 (1962)). Parker is the ca......
  • Coppola v. Logistec Connecticut, Inc., No. 17604.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 3, 2007
    ...navigation and commerce, over which the federal government had exclusive jurisdiction under Jensen. In Parker v. Motor Boat Sales, Inc., 314 U.S. 244, 245, 62 S.Ct. 221, 86 L.Ed. 184 (1941), the court considered whether the longshore act applied to a claim by the widow of an employee who ha......
  • Deep South Oil Co. of Texas v. FEDERAL POWER COM'N, No. 15849.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 30, 1957
    ...Co. v. Central Illinois Public Service Co., 314 U.S. 498, 508, 62 S.Ct. 384, 388, 86 L.Ed. 371 377; and see Parker v. Motor Boat Sales, 314 U.S. 244, 250, 62 S.Ct. 221, 225, 86 L.Ed. 184 191 * * *," Federal Power Commission v. East Ohio Gas Company, 338 U.S. 464, 472, 70 S.Ct. 266, 270, 94 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
155 cases
  • National Labor Relations Board v. Hearst Publications Same v. Stockholders Pub Co Same v. Co 8212 339, TIMES-MIRROR
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 24, 1944
    ...309 U.S. 251, 60 S.Ct. 544, 547, 84 L.Ed. 732) or that he was injured 'in the course of his employment' (Parker v. Motor Boat Sales, Inc., 314 U.S. 244, 62 S.Ct. 221, 222, 86 L.Ed. 184) and the Federal Communications Commission's determination36 that one company is under the 'control' of an......
  • Bienvenu v. Texaco, Inc., No. 96-60625
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 11, 1999
    ...103 S.Ct. at 642-45 (discussing Davis v. Department of Labor, 317 U.S. 249, 63 S.Ct. 225, 87 L.Ed. 246 (1942); Parker v. Motor Boat Sales, 314 U.S. 244, 62 S.Ct. 221, 86 L.Ed. 184 (1941); and Calbeck v. Travelers Ins. Co., 370 U.S. 114, 82 S.Ct. 1196, 8 L.Ed.2d 368 (1962)). Parker is the ca......
  • Coppola v. Logistec Connecticut, Inc., No. 17604.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 3, 2007
    ...navigation and commerce, over which the federal government had exclusive jurisdiction under Jensen. In Parker v. Motor Boat Sales, Inc., 314 U.S. 244, 245, 62 S.Ct. 221, 86 L.Ed. 184 (1941), the court considered whether the longshore act applied to a claim by the widow of an employee who ha......
  • Deep South Oil Co. of Texas v. FEDERAL POWER COM'N, No. 15849.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 30, 1957
    ...Co. v. Central Illinois Public Service Co., 314 U.S. 498, 508, 62 S.Ct. 384, 388, 86 L.Ed. 371 377; and see Parker v. Motor Boat Sales, 314 U.S. 244, 250, 62 S.Ct. 221, 225, 86 L.Ed. 184 191 * * *," Federal Power Commission v. East Ohio Gas Company, 338 U.S. 464, 472, 70 S.Ct. 266, 270, 94 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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