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BROCK v. STANDARD OIL CO.

March 4, 1940

BROCK
v.
STANDARD OIL CO. OF NEW JERSEY



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KALODNER

The libellant, a seaman, brought an action in personam in admiralty (1) for damages based on alleged negligence, and (2) for maintenance and cure.

The action for damages contained three counts:

 (1) That the injury was caused by the negligence of the respondent in failing to protect the libellant against assault of a fellow-employee;

 (2) That the respondent failed to provide proper medical and surgical care and attention; and

 (3) That the respondent compelled the libellant to work despite his injuries.

 The first count has been withdrawn by counsel for the libellant (p. 2, Libellant's Brief) and properly so, as is demonstrated by the record.

 A brief statement of the facts is appropriate at this point:

 The libellant on November 27, 1937 was employed as an able-bodied seaman on board the steamship W. L. Steed owned by the respondent. At about midnight, while the vessel was in Everett, Mass., discharging cargo, the libellant became involved in an argument with one Armistead, an ordinary seaman. Libellant had loaned his overcoat to Armistead. He charged Armistead with having taken or lost some of the libellant's papers which had been in the pockets of the overcoat. The dispute was entirely outside the scope of the employment of either man and unconnected with their duties. It occurred in the seamen's quarters while both men were off duty. There were no officers present. The argument was climaxed by fisticuffs. The following from pages 9, 10, and 11 of the Notes of Testimony give a vivid picture of the incident:

 Libellant:

 "A. So he got mad -- he said, 'Well, in case I lost your papers, what are you going to do about it?' He struck at me with his left hand -- * * *"

 By the Court:

 "Q. You say he swung at you? A. Yes, sir, he struck at me with his right hand. I was facing him. I knocked his hand up ...


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