TIPTON V. SOCONY MOBIL OIL CO., INC., 375 U. S. 34 (1963)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Tipton v. Socony Mobil Oil Co., Inc., 375 U.S. 34 (1963)

Tipton v. Socony Mobil Oil Co., Inc.

No. 200

Decided October 21, 1963

375 U.S. 34


In this action by petitioner against respondent, his employer, under the Jones Act to recover damages for personal injuries, the principal issue was whether, in view of the nature of the work performed at the time of injury, petitioner was a seaman or member of the crew of a vessel, within the coverage of the Jones Act, or an offshore drilling employee. At the trial before a jury, the District Court, over petitioner's objection, admitted evidence that petitioner had accepted compensation benefits under the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, as applied through the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which is explicitly inapplicable to a "member of a crew of any vessel." In response to an interrogatory, the jury found that petitioner was not a seaman or a member of a crew of a vessel, within the meaning of the Jones Act; and judgment was entered upon the verdict for respondent.

Held: The District Court's error in admitting evidence of other compensation benefits cannot, on the record in this case, be deemed harmless. Pp. 375 U. S. 34-37.

315 F.2d 660, certiorari granted; judgment vacated; and case remanded.

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