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Gutierrez v. Waterman Steamship Corp.

373 U.S. 206, 1963 A.M.C. 1649 (1963)

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Gutierrez v. Waterman Steamship Corp.

United States Supreme Court

373 U.S. 206, 1963 A.M.C. 1649 (1963)

Facts

The cargo of the S.S. Hastings included beans that had been packed in defective bags. The Hastings docked at Ponce, Puerto Rico, and its crew began unloading the ship. During unloading, coopers among the ship’s crew were working to repair the bags. Some beans spilled out of a broken bag and onto the dock on which longshoremen were helping unload. One such longshoreman, Gutierrez (plaintiff), slipped on some loose beans while working on the dock and suffered injuries. Gutierrez sued the ship in admiralty in district court. The district court determined that Gutierrez had established all of the elements of a negligence claim and awarded damages to be paid to Gutierrez by the owner of the Hastings, Waterman Steamship Corporation (Waterman) (defendant). The court of appeals reversed, finding that, as a matter of law, Waterman could not be negligent with respect to things that happened on a dock or pier that it did not control. Gutierrez appealed to the United States Supreme Court. At the Supreme Court, Waterman argued, for the first time, that the district court lacked jurisdiction over the case because the injury occurred on the pier rather than on the ship itself.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

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