Julio Diniero (plaintiff) was an engineer aboard a ship owned by United States Lines Co. (USLC) (defendant). Diniero suffered from a ruptured disc that eventually resulted in surgery. Diniero brought suit against USLC, claiming that the ruptured disc was caused by his duties as an employee aboard USLC’s ship. The trial judge submitted the case to the jury with several interrogatories. One of the interrogatories prompted multiple communications and questions from the jury during deliberations. The judge gave an explanation of the interrogatory, but the explanation was not clear and likely confused the jury more. Eventually, the jury told the judge that it could not, and would not be able to, agree on that one interrogatory. Consequently, the judge withdrew all of the interrogatories and charged the jury to return a general verdict with no interrogatories. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Diniero. USLC appealed on the theory that once the interrogatory was submitted to the jury, it could not be withdrawn.