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Harbor Tug & Barge Co. v. Papai
United States Supreme Court
520 U.S. 548, 117 S.Ct. 1535, 137 L.Ed.2d 800, 1997 AMC 1817 (1997)
For over two years, John Papai (plaintiff) had been getting short-term jobs on various docked vessels through the Inland Boatman’s Union’s hiring hall. Papai was hired to perform maintenance work, to load or unload vessels, or as a deckhand. Most of the jobs lasted for only a few days and did not require Papai to sail with the vessels. Papai accepted a one-day job with Harbor Tug & Barge Co. (Harbor Tug) (defendant) to perform painting work on a tugboat. Harbor Tug did not maintain a permanent crew on any of its vessels but rather obtained workers as needed through the hiring hall. While painting on the tugboat, Papai fell off of a ladder and was injured. Papai had been employed by Harbor Tug 12 times in the few months preceding the painting job. Papai sued Harbor Tug as a seaman under the Jones Act. The district court granted Harbor Tug’s motion for summary judgment, finding that Papai was not a seaman for purposes of the statute. The court of appeals reversed the decision, and the matter came before the United States Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)
Dissent (Stevens, J.)
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