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IN RE J. E. BRENNEMAN CO.

September 19, 1957

Petition of J. E. BRENNEMAN COMPANY for exoneration from or limitation of liability


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GANEY

On July 20, 1956, while the pile driver vessel 'Hercules', owned and operated by the petitioner, was moored at claimants' pier in the Delaware River, Philadelphia, Pa., a fire destroyed the 'Hercules' and damaged the pier. As a result claimants suffered extensive damages. Petitioner, which had been doing repair work on the pier prior to the fire, was engaged by the claimants to repair the damage. It was requested to make a survey of the damages and to prepare a list of the items needing repair and replacement.

 Five days later, at a meeting attended by petitioner and its insurance carrier, and claimants and their insurance carriers, copies of a document containing a list of the items damaged by the fire were given to all the persons present. The document, consisting of fourteen typewritten pages, and dated July 25, 1956, provides as follows:

 'To Whom it May Concern:

 'We, the undersigned, have this day held survey on the Pier of the Philadelphia Coke Company, located at the Foot of Buckius St., Philadelphia, Pa. to determine the extent of the damage caused by fire of unknown origin July 20, 1956, discovered at approximately 1.40 a.m.

 'The pier is a high deck creosoted timber structure, 44 ft. wide by 520 ft. long with pile bents at 10 ft. centers. Extent of fire damaged ranged from Bent. No. 5 at the inshore end to Bent No. 37.

 'Condition of timber and intensity of char is noted bent by bent under remarks by the depth of char, being classified as light (1/4' or less); medium (1/4' to 1/2') and heavy (3/4' plus or minus).

 'Condition of caps, clamps, cross bracing, bearing pile splices, spur pile splices is noted for each bent. Condition of deck and stringers is noted for each bay for example bent No. 4 and No. 5.

 'Bent No. 4

 'Remarks: Upriver outshore light char

 'Bent No. 4 to No. 5

 'Remarks: Deck heavy char Stringers medium char'

 Then followed approximately thirteen pages of a list of the items to be ...


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