Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ford v. Trident Fisheries Co. case brief

Ford v. Trident Fisheries Co. case brief summary
122 N.E. 389 (1919)

Plaintiff litigant filed an action against defendant employer to recover damages for the death of the litigant's intestate, an employee.

The intestate was employed as a mate of the employee's steam trawler. He had been connected with the trawler about two months. He went on deck one afternoon to take charge of his watch. As he ascended a flight of four steps leading from the deck to the pilot house, the vessel rolled. The intestate was thrown overboard and drowned. The litigant filed a wrongful death action against the employer, alleging that the absence of a guard or rail along the flight of steps was negligence. The litigant also contended that the boat that was lowered to pick up the intestate was lashed to the deck, which meant that it had to be cut, and was supplied with only one oar.


  • The court found in favor of the employer. 
  • The court held that the employer was under no duty to the employee to change the obvious conditions of the vessel where the intestate was to perform his work. 
  • Moreover, the employer was not negligent in continuing the arrangements as they were when the employment began. 
  • The court concluded that the intestate would not have been rescued even if the boat had been suspended from davits and two oars were provided to propel it.
The court held that the litigant could not recover in the wrongful death action against the employer. The court overruled the employer's exceptions as to the sufficiency of the notice and the litigant's exceptions to the question of evidence.

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