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U.S. Supreme Court

Baltimore & Phila. Steamboat Co. v. Norton, 284 U.S. 408 (1932)

Baltimore & Phila. Steamboat Co. v. Norton

No. 185

Argued December 11, 1931

Decided January 11, 1932

284 U.S. 408


1.Laws such as the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Act of March 4, 1927, which operate to relieve employees and their dependents of part of the burden resulting from injuries and deaths in employment, and to distribute it to the industries and mediately to those served by them, are in the public interest, and should be construed liberally in furtherance of their purpose and, if possible, so as to avoid incongruous results. P. 284 U. S. 414.

2. It is clear, when the related parts of § 8 of the Act are considered together, that Congress intended to distinguish between temporary total disability (b), permanent partial disability due to the total loss of the use of a member (c)(1), and permanent partial disability due to the partial loss of such use (c)(18)-(19), and that its purpose was to require payments on account of the loss of earning capacity resulting from each. P. 284 U. S. 415.

3. The language of (22), when taken in context and construed in harmony with the purpose of the Act, means that the full rate shall be allowed for the duration of the "healing time," and that the proportionate rate shall apply to the rest of the established compensation period. Id.

4. A longshoreman, while working on a vessel in navigable waters of the United States, suffered an injury to his arm resulting in his temporary total disability for 34 weeks, and permanent partial disability amounting to 40% of the use of the arm.


(1) That the full period for compensation is 314 weeks, made up by adding to the period of 312 weeks specified in paragraphs (c)(1)(18) the two weeks by which the temporary total disability exceeded the period of 32 weeks ("healing time") fixed in the schedule of paragraph (22).

(2) The full rate of 66 2/3% of the average weekly wages should be allowed for 32 weeks only, on account of the temporary permanent disability, and the proportionate rate (40% of the full rate) should be allowed for 282 weeks (the remainder of the full compensation period) on account of the permanent partial disability.

48 F.2d 57 modified and affirmed. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 284 U. S. 409

Certiorari, post, p. 602, to review a judgment affirming the dismissal of a suit to set aside an award of compensation under the Longshoremen's & Harbor Workes' Compensation Act. F or the opinion of the District Court, see 40 F.2d 530.

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