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KELLUM v. UNITED STATES LINES

November 9, 1973

James L. KELLUM
v.
UNITED STATES LINES, INC.


Clifford Scott Green, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN

CLIFFORD SCOTT GREEN, District Judge.

 Introduction

 Plaintiff instituted this action on April 12, 1973, seeking one million dollars in damages for his claim under 46 U.S.C. § 688 (Jones Act) and for maintenance and cure and wages.

 Thereafter, on June 22, 1973, defendant filed the motion, now before this Court, to transfer this action from this district to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404 (a):

 
"For the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought."

 For the reasons which appear hereinafter, we have decided to grant defendant's motion "for the convenience of parties and witnesses" and "in the interest of justice". *fn1"

 Facts

 Plaintiff, employed as a crew member of the vessel, "SS American Challenger", which is owned and operated by the defendant, was injured on February 2, 1973, on board while in Southport (or Suny Point) harbor in North Carolina. His right hand was caught in a winch, *fn2" which was operated by employees of Ryan Stevedoring Company (Ryan Co.), who were discharging the ship. As a result, the plaintiff's right thumb was amputated and surgery was required. Subsequently, plaintiff developed intracranial hemorrhaging requiring a craniotomy. The plaintiff now suffers from nerve and brain damage, allegedly all as a consequence of his original accident. *fn3"

 Plaintiff is a citizen and resident of the state of North Carolina. Defendant is incorporated under the laws of Delaware and is subject to service of process in the Eastern District of North Carolina. However, defendant is also subject to service of process and has offices in Philadelphia. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina sits in Wilmington, North Carolina.

 The defendant cannot effect jurisdiction over the Ryan Co. in The Eastern District of Pennsylvania and join it as a third party defendant without transfer. Thus, defendant avers that if it is liable, an indemnity action against Ryan Co. will be required in The Eastern District of North Carolina.

 The "SS American Challenger" will not be coming to Philadelphia in the foreseeable future and has not been here since March of 1969. However, the defendants have not alleged where the ship will be in the foreseeable future nor that it will be any where near Wilmington, N.C.

 Whether the plaintiff's brain injury is related to the accident of February 21, 1973, will be one of the major issues at the trial.

 The accident has been investigated by the attorneys for the defendant from Wilmington, North Carolina. *fn4" Immediately after the accident, plaintiff was taken to Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport, North Carolina. Thereafter, plaintiff was transferred to New Hanover Memorial Hospital in New Hanover, N.C. until March 8, 1973, and, while there, was under the care of Dr. Charles Nance of Wilmington, North Carolina. On March 8, 1973, plaintiff was transferred to Veteran's Hospital in Durham, N.C. where he was still hospitalized as of April 17, 1973. *fn5" In addition, the plaintiff has been an inpatient at the U.S. Public Health Service in Norfolk, Va. *fn6" and, plaintiff's counsel avers that the plaintiff ...


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