The Plymouth case brief summary
Supreme Court 1866 Every species of tort occurring upon the high seas or navigable waters is of admiralty jurisdiction
- The Falcon anchored in the Chicago River (navigable water) besides the wharf of Hough & Kershaw, the vessel took fire and the flames set wharf and packing-houses on fire.
- Hough & Kershaw filed a libel in admiralty against the owners of the Falcon and attached a vessel of theirs called the Plymout.
Issue: whether the tort having been committed partly on water and partly on land was of admiralty jurisdiction.
- These cases depend upon the nature and subject-matter of the contract, whether a maritime contract, and the service a maritime service to be performed upon the sea, or other navigable waters, though made upon land.
- The true meaning of locality in cases of maritime torts is that the wrong and injury complained of must have been committed wholly upon the high seas or navigable waters to be within the admiralty jurisdiction.
- The jurisdiction of the admiralty doesn’t depend upon the fact that the injury was inflicted by the vessel, but upon the locality – the high seas or navigable waters where it occurred.
- Every species of tort however occurring, and whether on board a vessel or not, if upon the high seas or navigable waters is of admiralty cognizance.
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