THE BEACONSFIELD, 158 U. S. 303 (1895)

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U.S. Supreme Court

The Beaconsfield, 158 U.S. 303 (1895)

The Beaconsfield

No. 943

Submitted April 22, 1895

Decided May 20, 1895

158 U.S. 303


The carrier is so far the representative of the owner that he may sue in his own name, either at common law or in admiralty, for a trespass upon or injury to the property carried.

If a cargo be damaged by collision between two vessels, the owner may pursue both vessels, or either, or the owners of both, or either, and in case he proceeds against one only and both are held in fault, he may recover his entire damages of the one sued.

A person who has suffered injury by the joint action of two or more wrongdoers may have his remedy against all or either, subject to the condition that satisfaction once obtained is a bar to further proceedings.

If the owner of a vessel, libellant on his own behalf and on behalf of the owner of the cargo, takes no appeal from a decree dismissing the libel as to his own vessel, the owner of the cargo may be substituted as libellant in his place, and the failure of the owner of the vessel to appeal is a technical defense which ought not to prejudice the owner of the cargo.

Page 158 U. S. 304

Stipulations in admiralty are not subject to the rigid rules of the common law with respect to the liability of the surety, and so long as the cause of action remains practically the same, a mere change in the name of the libellant, as by substituting the real party in interest for a nominal party, will not avoid the stipulation as against the sureties.

This case, which is an outgrowth of that of The Britannia, 153 U. S. 130, arose upon a certificate of the circuit court of appeals touching the liability of the Beaconsfield to respond for a moiety of the loss upon her cargo by reason of her collision with the Britannia. The questions certified are based upon the finding of facts printed in the margin. *

Page 158 U. S. 305

Upon this state of facts, the court of appeals certified to this Court for its decision the following questions:

Page 158 U. S. 306

1. Whether, in entering said final decree, condemning each vessel in a moiety of said damages, the circuit court obeyed the mandate of the Supreme Court.

2. Whether, upon the above statement of facts, the libelant Albert W. Sanbern was entitled to a final decree condemning the steamship Beaconsfield, her engines, tackle, apparel, and furniture, in a moiety of the cargo damage, amounting to $31,526.64, as adjudged in the said final decree.

3. Whether, upon the above statement of facts, the libelant Albert W. Sanbern was entitled to judgment against William Libbey, surety, in the sum of $23,000, as directed by the said order of June 12, 1894, and as adjudged in the said judgment

Page 158 U. S. 307

entered pursuant to the said order, and filed June 12, 1894.

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