GUZMAN V. PICHIRILO, 369 U. S. 698 (1962)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Guzman v. Pichirilo, 369 U.S. 698 (1962)

Guzman v. Pichirilo

No. 358

Argued March 27, 1962

Decided May 21, 1962

369 U.S. 698


Petitioner, a longshoreman, brought suit in admiralty, in rem against a ship and in personam against her owner, to recover damages for injuries which he claimed resulted from unseaworthiness of the ship, which he was helping to unload. The defense was that the ship was under demise charter to petitioner's employer at all pertinent times, including the time when the unseaworthy condition arose. The District Court found that there was in fact no such demise charter, and awarded petitioner a judgment against the ship and its owner. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the ship was under a demise charter to petitioner's employer, that this relieved the owner of personal responsibility for unseaworthiness, and that the ship was not liable in rem because no personal responsibility could be visited upon either the owner or the charterer.

Held: the District Court's findings of fact relative to the existence of a demise charter were not clearly erroneous, and the Court of Appeals erred in reversing its judgment. Pp. 369 U. S. 698-703.

290 F.2d 812, reversed.

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