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Williams v. Hays

Court of Appeals of New York
52 N.E.2d 589 (N.Y. 1899)


Facts

William Hays (defendant) was the captain and part owner of a cargo ship. While transporting cargo, the ship encountered a massive storm. For about three days, the ship was stuck in the storm, with Hays attempting to right the ship with little food or sleep. At one point, Hays took a strong malaria medicine, after which his crew felt that he was acting either drunk or insane. During this time, two separate tugboats passed the ship, noticed that the ship was damaged, and offered to tug the ship to shore. Hays declined both offers. Eventually, the ship wrecked. Later, Hays remembered nothing of the tugboats’ offers. Williams, et al., (plaintiffs) the other owners of the ship, sued Hays for negligence, seeking to recover for the loss of the ship. The jury found in favor of Hays. The Court of Appeals of New York reversed and remanded. Upon remand, Hays raised the issue of whether he had become insane solely due to his efforts to save the boat. The trial court issued a directed verdict for the plaintiffs. Hays appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Haight, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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