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ARCHAWSKI V. HANIOTI, 350 U. S. 532 (1956)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Archawski v. Hanioti, 350 U.S. 532 (1956)

Archawski v. Hanioti

No. 351

Argued March 5, 1956

Decided April 9, 1956

350 U.S. 532


A libel in admiralty alleged that petitioners paid moneys to respondent for transportation to Europe on respondent's vessel, and that respondent breached the contract by abandonment of the voyage. The libel further alleged that respondent wrongfully appropriated the passage money to his own use and committed other fraudulent acts.

Held: the cause of action alleged was within the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal District Court. Pp. 532-536.

(a) The essential character of the libel as a claim for breach of a maritime contract was not altered by the allegations of wrongfulness and fraud. Pp. 350 U. S. 534-535.

(b) So long as the claim asserted arises out of a maritime contract, the admiralty court has jurisdiction over it. P. 350 U. S. 535.

(c) Admiralty has jurisdiction even where a libel reads like indebitatus assumpsit at common law, provided that the unjust enrichment arose out of the breach of a maritime contract. Pp. 350 U. S. 535-536.

223 F.2d 406 reversed and remanded.

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