The Osceola

189 U.S. 158, 23 S. Ct. 463, 47 L. Ed. 760, 2000 AMC 1207 (1903)

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The Osceola

United States Supreme Court
189 U.S. 158, 23 S. Ct. 463, 47 L. Ed. 760, 2000 AMC 1207 (1903)

Facts

The Osceola (defendant) was traveling through the open waters of Lake Michigan en route to Milwaukee, approximately three miles away from the city and moving against a headwind. The master of the vessel ordered that the gangway be hoisted by a derrick while the vessel was still underway to ensure that the Osceola would be immediately ready to discharge its cargo when it entered the port. The derrick was set in place to raise the gangway, but as soon as the gangway was lifted, it was caught by the wind and swung around, pulling the derrick over. The falling derrick injured Patrick Shea (plaintiff), a seaman on the vessel. Shea filed an in rem action in admiralty in federal district court against the Osceola, seeking to recover damages for his injuries under a negligence theory. The district court entered a decision for Shea, and the owners of the Osceola appealed. The circuit court of appeals certified questions of law to the United States Supreme Court, asking whether a seaman could recover damages due to the negligence of the master of his vessel.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brown, J.)

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