LEVINSON V. DEUPREE, 345 U. S. 648 (1953)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Levinson v. Deupree, 345 U.S. 648 (1953)

Levinson v. Deupree

No. 439

Argued February 5-6, 1953

Decided June 1, 1953

345 U.S. 648


A New York girl was killed in a collision between two motorboats on the Ohio River in Kentucky. Respondent obtained a defective appointment as ancillary administrator of her estate and filed a timely libel in personam in a Federal District Court in Kentucky against the owners and operators of the motorboats for damages under the Kentucky wrongful death statute, which prescribed a one-year statute of limitations. Respondent later obtained an undoubtedly valid appointment and, more than a year after the death, moved to amend his libel to allege his new appointment. This was not permitted under Kentucky law, because a new suit would have been barred by the statute of limitations.

Held: the suit being in admiralty, federal practice controls. The administrator, holding an effective appointment under Kentucky law, should be permitted to amend his libel so as to allege that appointment, even though the applicable statute of limitations would bar a new suit. Pp. 345 U. S. 649-652.

199 F.2d 760, affirmed.

A Federal District Court dismissed an administrator's libel to recover for a wrongful death occurring on a navigable river. The Court of Appeals reversed. 186 F.2d 297. This Court denied certiorari. 341 U.S. 915. On remand, the District Court awarded a decree to the administrator. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 199 F.2d 760. This Court granted certiorari. 344 U.S. 903. Affirmed, p. 345 U. S. 652.

Page 345 U. S. 649

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