The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 250: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, August-October, 1918. Page: 14
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250 FEDERAL REPORTER
Mary B. Curtis, the larger of the tugs, were then reversed. The Curtis
being the more powerful tug, the reversal of her engines swung the
fleet towards the dredge, and seems to have been the immediate cause
of the collision. The anchor on the barge Pittsburg was hanging on
her side at her hawse hole, partly below the water line. It was on the
side of the barge that was towards the dredge, and that struck the
dredge when the two collided.
It is claimed that the anchor ripped a hole in the side of the dredge
below the water line, and that the collision between the barge and the
dredge would have been harmless to the latter, but for the presence of
the anchor and its alleged improper position on the side of the barge.
The contention is that the damage to the dredge was due to the fact
that it sunk, and that it would not have sunk, in spite of the collision,
but for the position of the anchor on the side of the barge and below
the water line. The navigation of the fleet was in charge of the cap-
tain of the tug Mary B. Curtis. The captains of the barge Pittsburg
and the tug Ellis navigated their vessels in obedience to the directions
of the captain of the Curtis.
The foregoing were the ultimate facts of the collision, as they affect
the respective liability of the parties to it, the Ryan Towboat Com-
pany, the Sun Company, and the dredging company. From them the
District Judge arrived at the conclusion that the dredging company
was free from fault, and that the Ryan Towboat Company and the
Sun Company were jointly liable for the collision, their fault being
The fault charged against the dredging company was (1) in assuming
unnecessarily a position in the canal where it was a menace to those
navigating the canal, and (2) in inviting by its signal the fleet to pass
it while in a dangerous position and by a dangerous method.
(1) In view of the difficulty with which the dredge was moved, and
the time and expense incident to moving it, and in view of the shoal
water in the part of the river adjacent to the entrance of the canal, and
in view of the fact that there was ample room to navigate the canal,
if the dredge was properly moored to the bank of the canal, and if the
vessels navigating the canal did so with proper care, we agree with
the District Judge's finding that no fault can be charged against the
dredge in respect of its position. We also find that the preponderance
of the evidence shows that the dredge was moored close to the bank
at the time of the collision. The evidence shows that it was hauled up
to the bank at the time the Juno and tow passed, and there is no evi-
dence that it was moved from this position until after the collision. Its
position after the collision is satisfactorily explained by the slope of the
bank and the effect of the collision itself in moving it from the bank.
(2) The evidence is conflicting as to whether the captain of the
dredge merely acknowledged the signal given by the fleet of its approach
and of its intention to pass the dredge, or whether his signal amounted
to an invitation to do so. If the fleet took the proper and circuitous
course of approach to and passage by the dredge, no fault could be
predicated on the giving of the signal, though it was an invitation to
pass, since it is clear from the evidence that the fleet, by careful navi-
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The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 250: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, August-October, 1918., legislative document, 1918; Saint Paul, Minnesota. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38821/m1/29/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.