Sunday, May 18, 2014
North Pacific Steamship Co. v. Hall Brothers Marine Railway and Shipbuilding Co. case brief summary
North Pacific Steamship Co. v. Hall Brothers Marine Railway and Shipbuilding Co. (1919)
Ship in need of repairs kept being taken in and out of the water
• Issue: Whether there is admiralty jurisdiction
• Shipbuilding filed in personam against Steamship to recover balance due for certain work and labor done, services rendered, and materials furnished
• Just because the ship was dry docked does not take away from admiralty
• The contract for materials furnished and work performed in repairing her under the circumstances was a maritime contract
• “Any person furnishing repairs, supplies, or other necessaries, including the use of dry dock or marine railway, to a vessel, whether foreign or domestic” upon the order of a proper person shall have a maritime lien upon the vessel
Ø General Rule: to be a maritime contract, the subject matter of the contract must be directly and intimately related to the operation of a vessel and navigation
Ø Contracts that are not directly related to maritime matters and ship navigation afford no justification for the application of the uniform admiralty law and are best left for decision under state law contract principles
Ø An agreement involving the construction or drilling operations on a fixed platform on outer continental shelf is not a maritime contract
Ø An agreement to transport men and supplies to and from an offshore drilling rig is within admiralty jurisdiction
Shipbuilding v. Ship repair
One cannot have a maritime lien against a vessel until the vessel is built
Sale of vessels
Contracts to sell a vessel are non-maritime
Products liability contracts claims
Claims for breach of warranty involving ship construction are non-maritime
North Pacific v. Hall Brothers Marine Railway & Shipbuilding Co.(1919)
• If subject matter of contract is maritime, there is admiralty jurisdiction here
• Boat wasn’t afloat
• Contract to certain amount of work would be done by pulling the vessel up on the land so they could get to the bottom of the ship - almost rebuilt vessel
• A contract to repair a vessel is a maritime contract (getting vessel back into commerce so it can serve maritime needs)
• Is this a contract for repair? Contract was peculiarly worded
• It becomes a vessel when it is launched and is in condition as was intended
• Contract to build a vessel and contract going to build a vessel are not maritime contracts until the vessel was far enough along to function as intended
• Putting too much emphasis on the fact that part of the repairs would be done on land
• Court said locality of the contract was the rule under the Old English law which was thrown off and we substitute subject matter of the contract, the contract’s nature is maritime
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