LINDGREN V. UNITED STATES, 281 U. S. 38 (1930)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Lindgren v. United States, 281 U.S. 38 (1930)

Lindgren v. United States

No. 25

Argued October 25, 28, 1929

Decided February 24, 130

281 U.S. 38


1. The Merchant Marine Act establishes as a modification of the prior maritime law a rule of general application in reference to the liability of the owners of vessels for injuries to seamen, and supersedes all state legislation on that subject. P. 281 U. S. 44.

2. Where a seaman, in the course of his employment, suffers injuries resulting in death, but leaves no survivors designated as beneficiaries by the Employers' Liability Act -- made applicable in case of the death of a seaman by § 33 of the Merchant Marine Act -- the administrator is not entitled to maintain an action for the recovery of damages under the provisions of the federal Act, nor may he resort to the death statute of a state, either to create a right of action not given by the Merchant Marine Act or to establish a measure of damages not provided by that Act. P. 281 U. S. 47.

3. Prior to the enactment of the Merchant Marine Act, the maritime law gave no right of recovery for the death of a seaman, although occasioned by negligence of the owner or other members of the crew or by unseaworthiness of the vessel. P. 281 U. S. 47.

4. The right of action given by the second clause of § 33 of the Merchant Marine Act to the personal representative to recover damages, for and on behalf of designated beneficiaries, for the

Page 281 U. S. 39

death of a seaman when caused by negligence, is exclusive, and precludes a right of recovery of indemnity for the death by reason of the unseaworthiness of the vessel, irrespective of negligence, notwithstanding that the right be predicated upon the death statute of the state in which the injury was received. P. 281 U. S. 48.

28 F.2d 725 affirmed.

Certiorari, 279 U.S. 827, to review a decision of the circuit court of appeals which reversed a decree of the district court allowing a recovery against the United States in an action for the death of a seaman.

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