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FORGIONE v. UNITED STATES

September 26, 1951

FORGIONE
v.
UNITED STATES et al. NICASTRO v. UNITED STATES et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BARD

These are two actions in admiralty by two merchant seamen against one ship owner and its agent for alleged false imprisonment or malicious prosecution. The operative facts in each are identical, and the cases were tried simultaneously. On the basis of the pleadings and the testimony, I make the following special

Findings of Fact.

 1. Libellant in Admiralty Action No. 9 of 1948 is Anthony Forgione, a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a merchant seaman for the purposes of this action.

 2. On October 31, 1945 Forgione was employed as a member of the crew in the capacity of utility man on board the S.S. George Whitefield for a voyage not to exceed twelve months from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to foreign ports and to return to a port in the United States. Forgione's rate of pay was $ 132.50 per month, plus overtime and found.

 3. Libellant in Admiralty Action 11 of 1948 is Salvatore Nicastro, a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a merchant seaman for the purposes of this action.

 4. On October 31, 1945 Nicastro was also employed as a member of the crew aboard the George Whitefield for the same voyage, but in the capacity of second cook and baker. Nicastro's rate of pay was $ 167.50 per month, plus overtime and found.

 5. Respondents in both actions are the United States of American and the United States Maritime Commission.

 6. Respondent United States of Americana, through the War Shipping Administration, the predecessor of respondent Maritime Commission, was the owner of the George Whitefield at all times mentioned herein.

 7. The George Whitefield commenced the voyage here involved on October 31, 1945 from the Port of Philadelphia to various European ports, including Trieste and Bari, Italy.

 8. During the first part of this voyage libellants unjustifiedly assaulted, beat and threatened the lives of other crew members and some ship's officers. At other times libellants were intoxicated and insubordinate.

 9. The captain of the George Whitefield did not have libellants arrested while the vessel was in Trieste because that port was under the control of British military authorities.

 10. The port of Bari was under the control of United States military authorities.

 11. The George Whitefield arrived in Bari the week before Christmas, 1945, and remained there until January 29, 1946.

 12. On the night of January 21, 1946 libellants, without justification, assaulted Harry Harper, a fellow crew member, broke down the door to his quarters, and threatened his life. Fearful for his life, Harper fled the vessel, spent the night on shore, returned the next morning and asked the captain to pay him off.

 13. Whereupon, on January 22, 1946, the captain and Harper went ashore and proceeded to the United States Military Police headquarters, where Harper, with the captain's consent, ...


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