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: 68
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256 FEDERAL REPORTER
udiced by the delay because of it. having the effect of depriving him
of evidence and the means of effectively defending himself. The
Key City, 14 Wall. 653, 20 L. Ed. 896; Pacific Coast S. S. Co. v.
Bancroft-Whitney Co., 94 Fed. 180, 36 C. C. A. 135. Coburn v.
Factors & Traders Ins. Co. (C. C.) 20 Fed. 644. In the instant case
the claim asserted grew out of circumstances attending the delivery
and loading of a cargo of logs intended for a vessel anchored some
distance from the shore at Axim. The occurrence was such a one
that knowledge of it was likely to be confined to the officers and crew
of the vessel and the persons who acted for the owner of the logs
in bringing them out from the shore. It well may be supposed that
the details of such an occurrence would not long be kept in mind by
participants in it, who were unaware of the existence of any question
or controversy in regard to it. A long-continued failure of the cargo
owner to make any disclosure of a claim that the ship was chargeable
with faults in such a transaction is likely to result in the shipowner los-
ing evidence, which would have been available if the claim had been
promptly made, even if the witnesses on whose testimony the ship-
owner might be expected to rely remain alive and within reach. But
when a party's reliance is on the testimony of the seafaring men
composing the officers and crew of a freight-carrying ocean vessel,
it well may be expected that all or a material part of that testimony
will be unobtainable, if the occasion of seeking to secure it does not
arise for more than five years after the occurrence in question. The
conclusion is that the delay in filing the libel was under such cir-
cumstances that it involved prejudice to the party proceeded against,
and that it amounted to such laches as constitutes a valid defense to
the claim asserted.
It will be added that on the testimony of the two employs of the
libelant who were witnesses in its behalf it is, to say the least, auestion-
able whether the logs which went adrift were ever in the custody or at
the risk of the ship. The testimony indicated that the logs brought out
in rafts remained in charge of the libelant's employs until they
were placed, one or more at a time, within reach of the ship's tackle,
and that the logs-which the evidence showed went adrift were never
The decree appealed from is reversed, with direction to dismiss
STANDARD BITULITHIC CO. v. CURRAN.
(Circuit Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. January 15, 1919.)
1. PLEADING :-m246(2)-AMENDMENT-ACTION ON CONTRACT.
In actions ex contractu, so long as plaintiff adheres to the original con-
tract on which the complaint is founded, an amendment is not objection-
able which merely states more fully and accurately the facts with refer-
ence to the contract, or changes the alleged date of the contract.
:For other cases see same topic & KEY-NUMBER in all IKey-Numbered Digests & Indexes
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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/m1/82/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.