The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 256: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, May-July, 1919. Page: 64
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256 FEDERAL REPORTER
Lexington was a passenger steamer. She had a bow lookout. Her
master and quartermaster were also on duty at the time of the col-
lision. That she should have run straight into a properly lighted
schooner on a clear night without seeing her until she was 21/2 lengths
away is in itself, though possible, highly improbable. The John H.
Starin, 122 Fed. 236, 58 C. C. A. 600. The libelant admits that there
was no light immediately after the collision and is forced to claim
that it was put out by the collision. Whether the collision would have
had such an effect may be doubted. Moreover, the fact is highly sig-
nificant that five of the depositions of the libelant were taken before
those of the claimant, and not one of these five witnesses said that
the port light was extinguished by the collision, nor had the libel any-
where mentioned such an occurrence. They were followed by nine
witnesses on behalf of the Lexington who swore that her port light
was out. The deposition of Hamilton, the master of the Stetson, was
taken, and he first testified that the light was shaken out by the col-
lision. His report to the local inspectors had not mentioned that the
light was thus extinguished. Moreover, he said he told his counsel all
the facts, but admitted on cross-examination that he did not think he
told him that the port light went out.
Neither the light, nor the man who lighted it, was produced at the
trial. In view of the sharp conflict of testimony as to whether this
lamp was ever lighted, and the admission that it was found to be out
immediately after the collision, I cannot believe the explanation of the
single witness, Hamilton, that this condition was caused by the col-
The Stetson did not have a lookout just before the time of the col-
lision. Chevrie, the lookout, testified that he went aft to look at the
clock after another steamer had passed the Stetson, and when he got
back the Lexington "was pretty near on top of us." Therefore he
was absent at the most crucial time. The captain, however, was aware
of the presence of the steamer which had been reported by Chevrie
before; he was holding his course as he ought, and the steamer was
under the rules bound to keep out of his way. The absence of the
lookout therefore apparently did not contribute to the injury, and I
place my decision purely upon the ground that the Stetson had insuf-
The libel is dismissed, with costs.
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The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 256: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, May-July, 1919., legislative document, 1919; Saint Paul, Minnesota. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38827/m1/78/: accessed March 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.