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U.S. Supreme Court

Swanson v. Marra Brothers, Inc., 328 U.S. 1 (1946)

Swanson v. Marra Brothers, Inc.

No. 405

Argued February 1, 1946

Decided April 22, 1946

328 U.S. 1


1. A longshoreman in the employ of a stevedoring company, while on a pier and engaged in loading cargo on a ship lying alongside in a harbor, was struck by a life raft which fell from the vessel and injured him.

Held, he has no right of recovery against his employer under the Jones Act, 41 Stat. 1007, 46 U.S.C. § 688. International Stevedoring Co. v. Haverty, 272 U. S. 50; O'Donnell v. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., 318 U. S. 36, differentiated. Pp. 328 U. S. 2, 328 U. S. 7.

2. By legislation subsequent to the Jones Act and the decision in the Haverty case, Congress has expressed its purpose to restrict the liability of the employer under federal statutes to injuries to his employees occurring on navigable waters or inflicted upon an employee who is either a master or a member of a crew of the vessel, injured in the course of his employment as such. P. 328 U. S. 5.

3. The effect of the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act of March 4, 1927, 33 U.S.C. 901 et seq., is to confine the benefits of the Jones Act to the members of the crew of a vessel plying in navigable waters, and to substitute for the right of recovery recognized by the Haverty case only such rights to compensation as are given by the Longshoremen's Act. P. 328 U. S. 7.

4. Since the Longshoremen's Act is restricted to compensation for injuries occurring on navigable waters, it excludes from its own terms and from the Jones Act any remedies against the employer for injuries inflicted on shore. P. 328 U. S. 7. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 328 U. S. 2

5. It leaves the injured employees in such cases to pursue the remedies afforded by the local law, which this Court has often held permits recovery against the employer for injuries inflicted by land torts on his employees who are not members of the crew of a vessel. P. 328 U. S. 7.

6. It leaves unaffected the rights of members of the crew of a vessel to recover under the Jones Act when injured while pursuing their maritime employment, whether on board or on shore. Pp. 328 U. S. 7-8.

149 F.2d 646 affirmed.

Petitioner, a longshoreman in the employ of respondent stevedoring company, sued to recover under the Jones Act, 41 Stat. 1007, for injuries suffered while on a pier and engaged in loading cargo on a vessel lying alongside in the harbor. The District Court dismissed the complaint. 57 F.Supp. 456. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 149 F.2d 646. This Court granted certiorari. 326 U.S. 710. Affirmed, p. 328 U. S. 8.

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