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BRABAZON v. BELSHIPS CO.

March 25, 1952

BRABAZON
v.
BELSHIPS CO., Limited



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CLARY

Michael John Brabazon, the libellant has brought this action against Belships Co., Ltd., Skibs, A/S, Christen Smith & Co., respondent, to recover damages for injuries sustained by a fall in the No. 1 hold of the S.S. 'beljeanne' on December 29, 1949. From the pleadings and proof in this case I make the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

Findings of Fact

 1. At all times hereinafter set forth libellant was a longshoreman in the employ of Jarka Corporation of Philadelphia, stevedores.

 2. The respondent, Belships Co., Ltd., Skibs, A/S, Christen Smith & Co., was at all times hereinafter set forth the owner and operator of the S.S. 'beljeanne'.

 3. Said S.S. 'beljeanne' was at all times herein material lying in navigable waters at Girard Point in Philadelphia, engaged in taking aboard a cargo of locomotives and tenders for overseas shipment.

 4. On December 29, 1949, at 7 o'clock p.m., libellant was directed by his employer to go to work to lash tenders in the No. 1 hold of the S.S. 'beljeanne'.

 5. S.S. 'beljeanne' was adapted for the carriage of railroad rolling stock and large machinery. Prior to noon of December 29, 1949, two railroad locomotives had been stowed at the bottom and forward part of hold No. 1. Four locomotives had been stowed on the bottom after part of said hold. On the level above the locomotive and resting on steel beams supported by 'A'-frames that had been erected over the two locomotives located on the bottom and forward part of the hold, five tenders had been placed abreast. To the rear six tenders had been rested on beams supported in like manner on 'A'-frames above the row of four locomotives situate on the bottom of the after part of the hold. The tenders in question measured in excess of 20 feet in length, 8 feet in width, and 11 feet in height and resting on the beams were in close proximity one to the other with very little distance between.

 6. Preliminary to the lashing operations on the evening of December 29, 1949, one of the ship's officers had directed the manner and place of lashings to be made by the lashing gangs.

 7. In preparation for the lashing operation, libellant's employer had requested the mate to furnish lights to be used in the No. 1 hold. At the time of the beginning of operations at 7 p.m. there were three cluster lights in the hold which had been connected and lowered by the ship's electrician.

 8. The manner of operation of the lashing gang was as follows: The gang was split into three teams of three men each and each team took a cluster light and rigged it a short distance over the head of the team and over the place where they were assigned to work by the foreman of libellant's employer. One team commenced the lashing from the forward end of the first row of tenders to the forward bulkhead of the hold on the port side; a second team of which libellant was a member was assigned to make a lashing between the forward and after row of tenders and the port side of the ship; a third team began to lash on the port side between the rows of tenders opposite libellant's team.

 9. In order to perform the work assigned, it was necessary for the libellant and the members of his gang to work on a level above the locomotives. To do so it was necessary for libellant and the members of his gang to work at that level on staging made from lumber supplied by the ship.

 10. The staging and/or platform scaffold required to be used in the lashing operations was a necessary temporary appurtenance of the ship.

 11. At the time libellant and coworkers arrived at the designated locations, they found boards and planks on top of the locomotives and tenders extending between the port side of the vessel and between the locomotives themselves. These boards were loose and varied sizes in length, breadth and thickness. Some were lengths of staging lumber, others sweat boards taken from the ribs of the vessel, others an in-between size. Each gang of lashers rearranged the boards found at the time of arrival at the work to provide scaffolding in the area in which they were to work.

 12. Among other platforms and runways located in the hold at the time libellant and coworkers arrived to begin operations, there was an apparent walkway composed of two boards, each about 8 feet in length, and extending ...


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