JAMES STEWART & CO. V. SADRAKULA, 309 U. S. 94 (1940)

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U.S. Supreme Court

James Stewart & Co. v. Sadrakula, 309 U.S. 94 (1940)

James Stewart & Co. v. Sadrakula

No. 251

Argued January 12, 1940

Decided January 29, 1940

309 U.S. 94


1. Under Jud.Code § 237(a) and the Act of January 31, 1928, this Court has jurisdiction over an appeal from a judgment of a state court of last resort, sustaining a recovery of damages for accidental death, which necessarily upholds a state statute under which the damages were awarded against the contention that, in its application to the locus in quo -- a post office site -- it violated the provisions of the Constitution as to authority of the United States in such places. P. 309 U. S. 97.

2. Upon the transfer from a State to the United States of exclusive jurisdiction of a site for a post office, the state laws in effect at the time continue in force as federal laws, save as they may be inappropriate to the changed situation or inconsistent with the national purpose, and save as Congress may have provided otherwise. P. 309 U. S. 99.

3. Section 241(4) of the New York Labor Law, which requires the planking-over of floor beams on which iron or steel work is being erected in building construction, remained in force as to the post office site in New York City after the acquisition of the site by the United States, and was applicable to a contractor engaged in constructing the post office under a contract with the Government. P. 309 U. S. 100.

The fact that the Labor Law contains numerous administrative and other provisions inapplicable in the changed situation does not render § 241(4) inapplicable.

4. The possibility that the safety requirement of boarding-over the steel tiers may slightly increase the cost of construction to the Government does not make the requirement inapplicable to the post office site. P. 309 U. S. 104.

Page 309 U. S. 95

5. While the government building contract is in a sense the means by which the United States secures the construction of its post office, the contractor, in carrying out the contract, has not the immunity of a government instrumentality. P. 309 U. S. 105.

6. A contract for the building of a post-office in the City of New York provided that "State or Municipal Building Regulations do not apply to work inside the Government's lot lines," the sentence quoted being in a section of the contract relating to "licenses, permits, etc." Held, that the intention was to relieve the contractor from provisions of the city building code relating to types of material, fire hazards, and the like. P. 309 U. S. 105.

254 App.Div. 892; 5 N.Y.S.2d 260, affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court of New York, entered on remittitur from the Court of Appeals, 280 N.Y. 651, 730; 20 N.E.2d 1015; 21 N.E.2d 217, and sustaining an award of damages for accidental death.

Page 309 U. S. 97

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