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U.S. Supreme Court

Transportation Line v. Hope, 95 U.S. 297 (1877)

Transportation Line v. Hope

95 U.S. 297


1. The testimony of experts is admissible in determining an issue involving a question of nautical skill.

2. Although a transportation company engaged in towing a barge from one point to another does not occupy the position of a common carrier nor have that exclusive control of her which that relation would imply, it does have control of her to such extent as is necessary to enable it to fulfill its contract, and is therefore bound to exercise such degree of diligence and care as a skillful performance of the stipulated service requires.

3. A mere expression of opinion by a judge upon a question of fact is not a ground of error.

4. The action of the court below, in refusing to charge the jury as requested by the defendant, and the charge as given, considered and held not to be erroneous.

This was an action on the case by Hope, the plaintiff below, to recover damages for the loss of the canal barge or vessel Mary E. Loughney, her cargo, and for freight therein. The plaintiff alleges in substance that he delivered the barge, valued at $3,000, to the defendant to be towed, for a certain sum to be paid therefor, from Jersey City to New Haven, and that by reason of gross and culpable negligence and the want of ordinary care and skill of the defendant in towing and conducting the barge, she became totally lost. The defendant pleaded the general issue. The jury found for the plaintiff for $2,125.30, and, judgment having been rendered thereon, the defendant brought the case here.

The remaining facts, the charge as given and that refused, as well as the assignment of errors, are set forth in the opinion of the Court.