GOODWIN V. UNITED STATES, 84 U. S. 515 (1873)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Goodwin v. United States, 84 U.S. 17 Wall. 515 515 (1873)

7 Wall. 515

Goodwin v. United States

84 U.S. (17 Wall.) 515


In August, 1865, at the close of the rebellion, A. chartered a vessel to the United States, at a fixed sum per day, to carry military stores from Wilmington, North Carolina, to the City of New York, A. warranting her to be then "tight, staunch, and strong," and agreeing that while in the service of the government, she should be kept so, and that the time lost by her not being so should not be paid for by the government, "the war risk to be borne by the United States, the marine risk by the owners." On her voyage, she sprung a leak and put into the Island of St. Thomas, raised money there on a bottomry bond, and with it was repaired. Arriving in New York, and the bottomry bond not being paid, the vessel and cargo were libeled by the holder of the bond, attached by the marshal, and retained by him from the 10th of March to the 30th of July, a space of one hundred and forty-four days, when a decree was made against the vessel, and the cargo was liberated. The vessel was discharged from the service of the United States on the 7th of August following.

On a suit in the Court of Claims by A. to recover the per diem of $50 a day for the one hundred and forty-four days, during which the vessel was detained by the marshal, held that the United States was not liable for a per diem during that term; that the detention was incident to the "marine risk," which the owner had expressly assumed, and that, the United States not having been blameworthy, there was nothing to shift the burden from the party on whom the contract placed it.

Appeal from the Court of Claims, in which court one Goodwin, who had chartered a schooner to the United States at a fixed per diem sought to recover the per diem during one hundred and forty-four days in which, under the circumstances hereinafter mentioned, the vessel had been detained by the marshal of the United States on a libel filed against her.

The Court of Claims dismissed his petition, and Goodwin took this appeal.

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