Siegelman v. Cunard White Star Ltd.
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
221 F.2d 189 (1955)
Elias Siegelman (plaintiff) and his wife, Eva took passage from New York to Cherbourg, France aboard the Queen Elizabeth, a vessel of Cunard White Star Ltd. (Cunard) (defendant). During the trip, Mrs. Siegelman was injured. She later died. The Siegelmans’ ticket on the Queen Elizabeth specified that (1) no injury actions could be brought after one year following the injury, (2) any waiver was to be made in writing and signed by designated officials, and (3) all questions regarding the “contract ticket” were to be governed by “English law with reference to which [the contract was] made.” Eleven months after Mrs. Siegelman’s injury, a Cunard agent offered $800 in settlement. Siegelman’s attorney informed the agent that notwithstanding the offer, Siegelman would institute suit against Cunard prior to expiration of the one-year limitations period. The agent told the attorney that no action need be filed and that the offer would remain open. The one-year period expired without the filing of a suit or acceptance of the offer. Three months later, Cunard revoked the offer. Eleven months after that, Siegelman sued Cunard in federal district court on behalf of himself and as administrator of his wife’s estate. The complaint was dismissed on the grounds that the contract’s time bar applied and that the agent had not waived it. Siegelman appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Harlan, J.)
Dissent (Frank, J.)
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