Pope & Talbot, Inc. v. Hawn

346 U.S. 406, 74 S.Ct. 202, 98 L.Ed. 143, 1954 AMC 1 (1953)

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Pope & Talbot, Inc. v. Hawn

United States Supreme Court
346 U.S. 406, 74 S.Ct. 202, 98 L.Ed. 143, 1954 AMC 1 (1953)

Facts

Charles Hawn (plaintiff) suffered severe injuries while working on a vessel belonging to Pope & Talbot, Inc. (defendant) when he fell through an uncovered hatch hole. At the time of Hawn’s injury, the vessel was berthed at a pier in the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. Hawn sued Pope & Talbot in federal district court, in law under diversity jurisdiction, for unseaworthiness and negligence. The district court found that the vessel was unseaworthy and that Pope & Talbot had been negligent but that Hawn had also been contributorily negligent. The jury determined that Hawn’s negligence had been 17.5 percent responsible for the accident and reduced his award by that percentage. The court of appeals affirmed the decision. Pope & Talbot appealed, alleging that Pennsylvania law, which barred any recovery for a tort victim who was contributorily negligent, should apply to the case.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

Dissent (Jackson, J)

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