Pfeiffer Company, Inc v. Ford, No. 78-425

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPOWELL
Citation100 S.Ct. 328,444 U.S. 69,1979 A.M.C. 2319,62 L.Ed.2d 225
PartiesP. C. PFEIFFER COMPANY, INC., et al., Petitioners, v. Diverson FORD et al
Docket NumberNo. 78-425
Decision Date20 March 1979

444 U.S. 69
100 S.Ct. 328
62 L.Ed.2d 225
P. C. PFEIFFER COMPANY, INC., et al., Petitioners,

v.

Diverson FORD et al.

No. 78-425.
Argued March 20, 1979.
Reargued Oct. 1, 1979.
Decided Nov. 27, 1979.
Syllabus

Section 2(3) of the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, as amended in 1972, defines an employee as "any person engaged in maritime employment, including any longshoreman or other person engaged in longshoring operations. . . ." The question in this case is whether two workers were engaged in "maritime employment," as defined by § 2(3), when they sustained injuries for which they sought compensation. Respondent Ford was injured on a public dock in the Port of Beaumont, Tex., while employed by petitioner P. C. Pfeiffer Co. and while fastening onto railroad flatcars military vehicles that had been delivered to the port by ship, stored, and then loaded the day before the accident onto the flatcars. Respondent Bryant, while working as a cotton header for petitioner Ayers Steamship Co. in the Port of Galveston, Tex., was injured while unloading a bale of cotton from a dray wagon into a pier warehouse. Cotton arriving at the port from inland shippers enters storage in cotton compress-warehouses, then goes by dray wagon to pier warehouses, and later is moved by longshoremen from the warehouses onto ships. Both Ford's and Bryant's claims for coverage were denied by Administrative Law Judges applying the "point of rest" doctrine whereby maritime employment would include only the portion of the unloading process that takes place before the stevedoring gang places cargo onto the dock and the portion of the loading process that takes place to the seaside of the last point of rest on the dock. The Benefits Review Board reversed both decisions, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. On remand for reconsideration in light of this Court's decision in Northeast Marine Terminal Co. v. Caputo, 432 U.S. 249, 97 S.Ct. 2348, 53 L.Ed.2d 320, which rejected the "point of rest" theory, the Court of Appeals reaffirmed its earlier opinion.

Held: Ford and Bryant were engaged in maritime employment at the time of their injuries because they were engaged in intermediate steps of moving cargo between ship and land transportation.

(a) Petitioners' position that the Act covers only workers who are working or who may be assigned to work over the water itself is inconsistent with the language and structure of the Act, which contains dis-

Page 70

tinct situs and status requirements. Section 3(a) of the Act allows recovery for an injury suffered on navigable waters or certain adjoining areas landward of the water's edge, thus defining the broad geographic coverage of the Act, whereas § 2(3) defines the Act's occupational requirements, referring to the nature of a worker's activities. The legislative history also shows that Congress intended the term "maritime employment" in § 2(3) to refer to status rather than situs. In adopting an occupational test that focuses on loading and unloading, Congress anticipated that some persons who work only on land would receive benefits under the Act. Cf. Northeast Marine Terminal Co. v. Caputo, supra. Pp. 77-81.

(b) Ford and Bryant are the kind of land-based employees that Congress intended to encompass within the term "maritime employment." Both men engaged in the type of duties that longshoremen perform in transferring goods between ship and land transportation. Under § 2(3), workers doing tasks traditionally performed by longshoremen are within the purview of the Act. The crucial factor is the nature of the activity to which a worker may be assigned. Persons moving cargo directly from ship to land transportation are engaged in maritime employment, and a worker responsible for some portion of that activity is as much an integral part of the process of loading or unloading a ship as a person who participates in the entire process. Pp. 81-84.

575 F.2d 79, affirmed.

E. D. Vickery, Houston, Tex., for petitioners.

Peter Buscemi, Washington, D. C., pro hac vice, by special leave of Court, for respondents.

Page 71

Mr. Justice POWELL delivered the opinion of the Court.

The question in this case is whether two workers were engaged in "maritime employment," as defined by § 2(3) of the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 44 Stat. 1425, as amended, 86 Stat. 1251, 33 U.S.C. § 902(3), when they sustained injuries for which they seek compensation.

I

On April 12, 1973, Diverson Ford accidentally struck the middle finger of his left hand with a hammer while working on a public dock in the Port of Beaumont, Tex. On the day of his injury, Ford was employed by the P. C. Pfeiffer Co. to fasten military vehicles onto railroad flatcars. The vehicles had been delivered to the port by ship a number of days before the accident, stored, and then loaded onto flatcars the day before. The flatcars would take the vehicles to their inland destination.

Ford was working out of the warehousemen's local on the day of the accident. Agreements between employers, the warehousemen's union, and the longshoremen's union limit the tasks that warehousemen may perform in the Port of Beaumont. Warehousemen may not move cargo directly from a vessel either to a point of rest in storage or to a railroad car. Nor may they move cargo from a shoreside point of rest directly onto a vessel. These jobs are reserved for longshoremen. App. 10-11.

On May 2, 1973, Will Bryant was injured while unloading a bale of cotton from a dray wagon into a pier warehouse. Bryant was working as a cotton header for the Ayers Steamship Co. in the Port of Galveston, Tex. Cotton arrives at the port from inland shippers and enters storage in cotton

Page 72

compress-warehouses. The cotton then goes by dray wagon to pier warehouses where a driver and two cotton headers unload and store it. Longshoremen later move the cotton from the pier warehouses onto ships.

Contractual agreements between employers, the cotton headers' union, and the longshoremen's union distinguish the work that cotton headers may perform from the tasks assignable to longshoremen. Cotton headers may only load cotton off dray wagons into the pier warehouses or move cotton within a pier warehouse. Cargo moved directly from the ship to shoreside transportation, or directly from shoreside transportation to the ship, is handled solely by longshoremen. Id., at 25, 48-49, 57-58, 60-61.

II

Before 1972, neither Ford nor Bryant could have received compensation under the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act because his injury occurred on land. The pre-1972 Act was simply an effort to fill the gap in workmen's compensation coverage created by this Court's decision in Southern Pacific Co. v. Jensen, 244 U.S. 205, 37 S.Ct. 524, 61 L.Ed. 1086 (1917), which held that state compensation systems could not reach longshoremen injured seaward of the water's edge.1 A single situs requirement in § 3(a) of the Act governed the scope of its coverage. That requirement limited coverage to workers whose "disability or death result[ed] from an injury occurring upon the navigable waters of the United States (including any dry dock) . . . ." 44 Stat. 1426. In light of Jensen and the limited purpose of the Act, the situs test was understood to draw a sharp line between injuries sustained over water and those suffered on land. Thus, in

Page 73

Nacirema Operating Co. v. Johnson, 396 U.S. 212, 218-220, 90 S.Ct. 347, 351-352, 24 L.Ed.2d 371 (1969), this Court held that the Act did not extend to injuries occurring on a pier attached to the land. Although the Court recognized that inequities might result from rigid adherence to the Jensen line, the Court concluded that "[t]he invitation to move that line landward must be addressed to Congress, not to this Court." 396 U.S., at 224,2 90 S.Ct. at 354.

Congress responded with the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act Amendments of 1972 (1972 Act).3 The Act now extends coverage to more workers by replacing the single-situs requirement with a two-part situs and status standard. The newly broadened situs test provides compensation for an "employee" whose disability or death "results from an injury occurring upon the navigable waters of the United States (including any adjoining pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal, building way, marine railway, or other adjoining area customarily used by an employer in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel)." § 3(a), 33 U.S.C. § 903(a). The status test defines an employee as "any per-

Page 74

son engaged in maritime employment, including any longshoreman or other person engaged in longshoring operations, and any harborworker including a ship repairman, shipbuilder, and shipbreaker . . . ." § 2(3), 33 U.S.C. § 902(3). To be eligible for compensation, a person must be an employee as defined by § 2(3) who sustains injury on the situs defined by § 3(a).

III

This Court first considered the scope of § 2(3)'s status requirement in Northeast Marine Terminal Co. v. Caputo, 432 U.S. 249, 97 S.Ct. 2348, 53 L.Ed.2d 320 (1977). That case concerned the claims of two workers, Blundo and Caputo. Blundo was on a pier checking cargo as it was removed from a container when he suffered a fall.4 Caputo sustained injury while rolling a loaded dolly into a consignee's truck.5 We recognized that neither the 1972 Act nor its legislative history states explicitly whether workers like Blundo and Caputo, who handle cargo between sea and land transportation, are employees within the meaning of § 2(3). The Court found, however, that consideration of the legislative history in light of the remedial purposes behind the expansion of coverage reveals a clear intent to cover such workers. 432 U.S., at 267-278, 97 S.Ct., at 2359-2365.

One of the reasons Congress expanded coverage in 1972 was that containerization permits loading and unloading tasks traditionally conducted aboard...

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284 practice notes
  • New Orleans Depot Servs., Inc. v. Dir., Office of Worker's Comp. Programs, No. 11–60057.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • April 29, 2013
    ...L.Ed.2d 278 (1989), as long as the worker is “engaged in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel.” P.C. Pfeiffer Co. v. Ford, 444 U.S. 69, 79, 100 S.Ct. 328, 62 L.Ed.2d 225 (1979) (quoting S.Rep. No. 92–1125 (1972), 1972 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2708 and H.R.Rep. No. 92–1441 (1972)), 1972 U......
  • Bienvenu v. Texaco, Inc., No. 96-60625
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 11, 1999
    ..."coverage to more workers by replacing the single-situs requirement with a two-part situs and status standard." P.C. Pfeiffer Co. v. Ford, 444 U.S. 69, 73, 100 S.Ct. 328, 332, 62 L.Ed.2d 225 (1979). The situs test now reached shoreward to reach injuries "occurring upon the navigable waters ......
  • In re Scotto-DiClemente, Case No.: 11-28230 (MBK)
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of New Jersey
    • November 18, 2011
    ...bankruptcy statutes that 'includes' and 'including' are not limiting." (citing 11 U.S.C. § 101(3). See, e.g., P.C. Pfeiffer Co. v. Ford, 444 U.S. 69, 77 n.7, 62 L. Ed. 2d 225, 100Page 5S. Ct. 328 (1979) (noting that "including" indicates that enumerated items are part of larger group)); see......
  • Coppola v. Logistec Connecticut, Inc., No. 17604.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 3, 2007
    ...2nd Sess., 1972 U.S.Code Cong. & Admin. News p. 4698; accord S.Rep. No. 92-1125, pp. 12-13 (1972); see also P.C. Pfeiffer Co. v. Ford, 444 U.S. 69, 83, 100 S.Ct. 328, 62 L.Ed.2d 225 (1979) ("Congress intended to apply a simple, uniform standard of The Supreme Court further explained in Nort......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
287 cases
  • Bienvenu v. Texaco, Inc., No. 96-60625
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 11, 1999
    ..."coverage to more workers by replacing the single-situs requirement with a two-part situs and status standard." P.C. Pfeiffer Co. v. Ford, 444 U.S. 69, 73, 100 S.Ct. 328, 332, 62 L.Ed.2d 225 (1979). The situs test now reached shoreward to reach injuries "occurring upon the navigable waters ......
  • In re Scotto-DiClemente, Case No.: 11-28230 (MBK)
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of New Jersey
    • November 18, 2011
    ...bankruptcy statutes that 'includes' and 'including' are not limiting." (citing 11 U.S.C. § 101(3). See, e.g., P.C. Pfeiffer Co. v. Ford, 444 U.S. 69, 77 n.7, 62 L. Ed. 2d 225, 100Page 5S. Ct. 328 (1979) (noting that "including" indicates that enumerated items are part of larger group)); see......
  • Coppola v. Logistec Connecticut, Inc., No. 17604.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 3, 2007
    ...2nd Sess., 1972 U.S.Code Cong. & Admin. News p. 4698; accord S.Rep. No. 92-1125, pp. 12-13 (1972); see also P.C. Pfeiffer Co. v. Ford, 444 U.S. 69, 83, 100 S.Ct. 328, 62 L.Ed.2d 225 (1979) ("Congress intended to apply a simple, uniform standard of The Supreme Court further explained in Nort......
  • Stier v. Reading & Bates Corp., No. 96-1165
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • April 8, 1999
    ...Dredging. See American Dredging, 510 U.S. 443, 447 n. 1, 114 S.Ct. 981, 127 L.Ed.2d 285 (1994); see also P.C. Pfeiffer Co. v. Ford, 444 U.S. 69, 73 n. 2, 100 S.Ct. 328, 62 L.Ed.2d 225 (1979); Kossick v. United Fruit Co., 365 U.S. 731, 742, 81 S.Ct. 886, 6 L.Ed.2d 56 (1961)(Frankfurter, J., ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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