Cooper Stevedoring Co. v. Fritz Kopke, Inc.

417 U.S. 106, 94 S. Ct. 2174, 40 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1974)

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Cooper Stevedoring Co. v. Fritz Kopke, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
417 U.S. 106, 94 S. Ct. 2174, 40 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1974)

Facts

While working on the S.S. Karina, Troy Sessions, a longshoreman employed by Mid-Gulf Stevedores, Inc., stepped into a concealed gap between shipping crates and was injured as a result. The S.S. Karina was owned by Fritz Kopke, Inc. and chartered by Alcoa Steamship Company (the vessel parties) (plaintiffs). The crates had been loaded by Cooper Stevedoring Company (Cooper) (defendant). Sessions brought a personal-injury suit against the vessel parties on theories of unseaworthiness and negligence. The vessel parties then filed a third-party complaint against Cooper, seeking contribution in the event that the vessel parties were found liable to Sessions. The district court awarded damages to Sessions. The district court also found in favor of the vessel parties with respect to their third-party-contribution claim and divided the liability to Sessions equally between the vessel parties and Cooper. Cooper appealed, but the court of appeals affirmed the district court. Cooper then appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)

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