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ROEDER v. ALCOA S.S. CO.

March 6, 1972

Robert ROEDER
v.
ALCOA STEAMSHIP CO., Inc.


Hannum, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: HANNUM

This is an admiralty action commenced on June 9, 1967, by seaman-plaintiff Robert Roeder to recover $13.85 in wages, plus penalties, pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 596 from his employer-defendant Alcoa Steamship Co., Inc. The Honorable William H. Kirkpatrick, Senior Judge, United States District Court, entered summary judgment in plaintiff's favor for $32,450.55 plus interest, Roeder v. Alcoa Steamship Co., Inc., C.A. No. 42901 (E.D. Pa. 1968). In an Opinion by the Honorable Francis L. Van Dusen, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, reversed and remanded for trial. *fn1" On January 20, 1971, a trial was held on the complaint of Robert Roeder to recover wages and penalties. *fn2"

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Plaintiff, Robert M. Roeder, joined the SS ALCOA MASTER as a member of the deck department with the rating of deck maintenance on February 24, 1965 for a foreign voyage.

 2. On July 2, 1965, the vessel was at sea bound for the Port of New York.

 3. In addition to his duties regarding the cargo and maintenance of the vessel, the Chief Officer was responsible for maintaining discipline among the members of the deck department of the vessel and could secure sanctions against any seaman who was guilty of a breach of discipline.

 4. The Chief Officer, K.E. Graham, had approximately 35 years at sea with approximately 24 years as an officer.

 5. Chief Officer Graham, through the Bosun, assigned plaintiff and ordinary seaman, James R. Colson, to work on the after deck on July 2, 1965.

 6. On July 2, 1965, Roeder, although holding a day worker's rating of Deck Maintenance, was standing the 4-8 sea watch along with ordinary seaman Colson.

 7. A little after 4:00 p.m. on July 2, 1965, Chief Mate Graham had to go down and get Roeder out of his room to turn to for work.

 8. Roeder was under the influence of intoxicants.

 9. Roeder and Colson were assigned to work on the afterdeck.

 10. Subsequently, Colson came to the Chief Mate's room and reported that Roeder had urinated in his face, and that he would no longer work with him.

 11. Roeder had occasion to, and did, urinate over the side of the said vessel and the spray from his "call of nature" was carried by the wind into co-worker Colson's face.

 12. Upon hearing the report of Colson, the Chief Officer went to the main deck where he spoke to Roeder. He assigned Roeder to work one area of the deck and Colson another.

 13. The Chief Officer specifically ordered each man to remain working in those areas and keep apart, refraining from any further arguments or physical contact. After being satisfied that harmony had been restored, Graham left the deck.

 14. At approximately 4:50 p.m. the Boatswain reported that Colson and Roeder had a fight on the afterdeck.

 15. After having been ordered to remain in his assigned work area, Roeder left his assigned station and engaged in a fight on deck.

 16. Both Colson and Roeder were advised by Chief Office Graham that they were to be logged for fighting and disobeying his orders.

 17. On July 2, 1965, the following log entry was made in the Rough Deck Log by Chief Mate Graham.

 
"At approximately 1650 I was notified by the Bosun, S.F. Manard, that R.M. Roeder, Dk. Mt. was injured. Upon investigation I found he had been fighting with O.S. Colson. He had a cut on left temple and he complained of his left ribs hurting. I taped his ribs and put a bandage on his temple. K.E.G.
 
I notified Master and he, Chief Engineer and myself made complete search of all quarters for contraband -- found one bottle of whiskey belonging to O.S. Serpas."

 18. Roeder sustained injuries in the fight which were so severe as to cause Roeder to remain in his room.

 19. Chief Officer Graham reported the incident involving Roeder and Colson, including his specific commands and their violation, to the vessel's Captain and requested that both men be logged for fighting in disobedience to his orders.

 20. On July 4, 1965, the following log entries were made by the Master in the ...


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