Margin v. Sea-land Services, 5th Cir. 1987
Facts: Margin was a welder. On the day he was injured he was assigned to work on a ship
operated by Sea-Land, later during the day he was on the dock. A crane was moving a hatch from the ship to where Margin was located. The crane was operated from and on the shore Margin tried to climb the stacking frames on the dock and was injured. In order to get into federal court he needed to file under admiralty law.
Holding: The Admiralty Extension Act does not cover this situation.
Reasoning: The appurtenances themselves must be claimed to be defective extension of
the vessel. There was nothing wrong with the hatch cover. The Ship did not lower the hatch cover. A man was operating the land-based crane that had lifted the hatch cover. No action by the vessel caused the plaintiff to scale the stacking frames or to fall to the ground.
Hypo: If the ship’s crane had been used the Admiralty Extension Act would cover. The
relevant question is “Whose equipment is it and how is it being used.” What if there was a situation where the stevedore is using a forklift truck and there is a deficiency in the truck that injures a longshoreman on the dock. The extension act would not apply. However, if the forklift was carrying ship’s equipment but the truck is deficient and causes the injury. What argument would the shipowner have to say that the Admiralty Extension Act does not apply? When you take the forklift off the ship and on to the dock does the machine maintain its identity.
Note: Liability of Shipbuilders Under the Act
· There are property cases also regarding locus and nexus. The Admiralty Extension Act applied to a situation where operations on the vessel damaged vehicles that were being manufactured by Nissan sitting in a storage lot.