MR. JUSTICE JACKSON delivered the opinion of the Court.
Petitioner, a seaman, brought suit in admiralty to recover damages under the Jones Act, 41 Stat. 1007, 46 U.S.C. § 688, and maintenance, cure and wages under maritime law. The issue of negligence was decided against him by both courts below and the claim is abandoned here. Petition for certiorari to review other issues was granted. 335 U.S. 869.
I. MAINTENANCE AND CURE.
The facts which occasion maintenance and cure for this seaman are not in dispute. The claimant, 22 years of age and in good health, was a member of the Merchant Marine. He was in the service of the S.S. James E. Haviland, a merchant vessel owned and operated by the United States as a cargo and troop ship. On February 5, 1944, she was docked at Palermo, Sicily, and Farrell was granted shore leave which required his return to the ship by 6 p.m. of the same day. He overstayed his leave and about eight o'clock began, in rain and darkness, to make his way to the ship. He became lost and was misdirected to the wrong gate, by which he entered the shore-front area about a mile from where the ship lay moored. The area generally was blacked out but petitioner's companion, forty or fifty feet away, saw him fall over a guard chain into a drydock which was lighted sufficiently for night work then in progress. Farrell was grievously injured.
He was treated without expense to himself in various government hospitals until June 30, 1944, when he was
Admittedly there is no authority in any statute or American admiralty decisions for the proposition that he is entitled to maintenance for life. But an argument is based upon the ancient authority of Cleirac, Jugmens d'Oleron, Arts. 6 and 7 and notes by Cleirac; Consolato del Mare, cc. 182, 137; 2 Pard Coll. Mar. 152; to which American authorities have paid considerable respect. See Story, Circuit Justice, in Reed v. Canfield, Fed. Cas. No. 11,641, p. 429. A translation of the note relied upon reads:
Article 35 of the Laws of the Hanse Towns referred to reads:
We need not elaborate upon the meanings or weight to be given to these medieval pronouncements of maritime law. As they show, they were written when pirates were not operatic characters but were real-life perils of the sea. When they bore down on a ship, all was lost unless the seaman would hazard life and limb in desperate defense. If they saved the ship and cargo, it was something in the nature of salvage and for their sacrifice in the effort a contribution on principles of average may have been justly due. Perhaps more than humanitarian considerations, inducement to stand by the ship generated the doctrine that saving the ship and her cargo from pirates entitles the seaman to lifelong maintenance if he is disabled in the struggle.
But construe the old-time law with what liberality we will, it cannot be made to cover the facts of this case. This ship was not beset but was snug at berth in a harbor that had capitulated to the United States and her allied forces six months before. No sea rovers, pirates or corsairs appeared to have menaced her. It is true that the ship was engaged in warlike operations and was a legitimate target for enemy aircraft or naval vessels, which made her service a war risk, but at that time and place no enemy attack was in progress or imminent. Even if we pass all this and assume the ship always to have been in potential danger and in need of defense, this seaman at the time of his injury had taken leave of her and he is in no position to claim that he was a sacrifice to her salvation. Far from helping to man the ship at the moment, he was unable to find her; he was lost ashore and not able adequately to take care of himself. However patriotic his motive in enlisting in the service and
It is claimed, however, even if the basis for a lifetime award does not exist, that he is entitled to maintenance and cure beyond the period allowed by the courts below. This is based largely upon statements in the opinion of the Court in Calmar Steamship Corp. v. Taylor, 303 U.S. 525. There the question as stated by the Court was whether the duty of a shipowner to provide maintenance and cure for a seaman falling ill of an incurable disease while in its employ, extends to the payment of a lump-sum award sufficient to defray the cost of maintenance and cure for the remainder of his life. The Court laid aside cases where incapacity is caused by the employment and said, "We can find no basis for saying that, if the disease proves to be incurable, the duty extends beyond a fair time after the voyage in which to effect such improvement in the seaman's condition as reasonably may be expected to result from nursing, care, and medical treatment. This would satisfy such demands of policy as underline the imposition of the obligation. Beyond this we think there is no duty, at least where the illness is not caused by the seaman's service."
It is claimed that when the Court reserved or disclaimed any judgment as to cases where the incapacity is caused "by the employment" or "by the seaman's service" it recognized or created such cases as a separate class for a different measure of maintenance and cure. We think no such distinction exists or was premised in the Calmar case. In Aguilar v. Standard Oil Co., 318 U.S. 724, the Court pointed out that logically and historically the duty of maintenance and cure derives from
It has been the merit of the seaman's right to maintenance and cure that it is so inclusive as to be relatively simple, and can be understood and administered without technical considerations. It has few exceptions or conditions to stir contentions, cause delays, and invite litigations. The seaman could forfeit the right only by conduct whose wrongful quality even simple men of the calling would recognize — insubordination, disobedience to orders, and gross misconduct. On the other hand, the master knew he must maintain and care for even the erring and careless seaman, much as a parent would a child. For any purpose to introduce a graduation of rights and duties based on some relative proximity of the activity at time of injury to the "employment" or the "service of the ship," would alter the basis and be out of harmony with the spirit and function of the doctrine and would open the door to the litigiousness which has made the landman's remedy so often a promise to the ear to be broken to the hope.
Nor is it at all clear to us what this particular litigant could gain from introduction of the distinction for which contention is made. If we should concede that larger
The law of the sea is in a peculiar sense an international law, but application of its specific rules depends upon acceptance by the United States. The problem of the sick or injured seaman has concerned every maritime country and, in 1936, the General Conference of the International Labor Organization at Geneva submitted a draft convention to the United States and other states. It was ratified by the Senate and was proclaimed by the President as effective for the United States on October 29, 1939. 54 Stat. 1693. Article 4, paragraph 1, thereof, provides: "The shipowner shall be liable to defray the expense of medical care and maintenance until the sick or injured person has been cured, or until the sickness or incapacity has been declared of a permanent character."
While enactment of this general rule by Congress would seem controlling, it is not amiss to point out that the limitation thus imposed was in accordance with the understanding of those familiar with the laws of the sea and sympathetic with the seaman's problems.
The Department of Labor issued a summary of the Convention containing the following on this subject: "The shipowner is required to furnish medical care and
Representatives of the organized seamen have recognized and advised Congress of this traditional limitation on maintenance and cure. When Congress has had under consideration substitution of a system of workmen's compensation on the principles of the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 44 Stat. 1424, as amended, 33 U.S.C. §§ 901-950, organized seamen, as we have heretofore noted, have steadfastly opposed the change. Hust v. Moore-McCormack Lines, 328 U.S. 707, 715. In doing so the legal representative of one maritime union advised the Committee on Merchant Marine of the House of Representatives that maintenance extended during "(a) the period that a seaman receives treatment at a hospital either as an in-patient or an out-patient; and (b) during a period of convalescence, and until the maximum cure is obtained."
That the duty of the ship to maintain and care for the seaman after the end of the voyage only until he was so far cured as possible, seems to have been the doctrine of the American admiralty courts prior to the adoption of the Convention by Congress,
Maintenance and cure is not the only recourse of the injured seaman. In an appropriate case he may obtain indemnity or compensation for injury due to negligence or unseaworthiness and may recover, by trial before court and jury, damages for partial or total disability. But maintenance and cure is more certain if more limited in its benefits. It does not hold a ship to permanent liability for a pension, neither does it give a lump-sum payment to offset disability based on some conception of expectancy of life. Indeed the custom of providing maintenance and cure in kind and concurrently with its need has had the advantage of removing its benefits from danger of being wasted by the proverbial improvidence of its beneficiaries. The Government does not contend that if Farrell receives future treatment of a curative nature he may not recover in a new proceeding the amount expended for such treatment and for maintenance while receiving it.
The need of this seaman for permanent help is great and his plight most unfortunate. But as the evidence has afforded no basis for supplying that need by finding negligence, neither does the case afford a basis for distortion of the doctrine of maintenance and cure. This seaman was in the service of the United States and extraordinary measures of relief while not impossible are not properly addressed to the courts.
The two courts below have held the petitioner entitled to wages until the completion of the voyage at the port
For the reasons set forth, the judgment is
MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, with whom MR. JUSTICE BLACK, MR. JUSTICE MURPHY and MR. JUSTICE RUTLEDGE concur, dissenting.
I. Wages. — The articles bound Farrell to a voyage on the vessel which was en route to "a point in the Atlantic Ocean to the eastward of Phila. and thence to such ports and places in any part of the world as the Master may direct or as may be ordered or directed by the United States Government or any department, commission or agency thereof . . . and back to a final port of discharge in the United States, for a term of time not exceeding 12 (Twelve) calendar months." If this were a coastwise voyage, there would be little question that Farrell could recover his wages for the entire twelve-month period. See Enochasson v. Freeport Sulphur Co., 7 F.2d 675; Jones v. Waterman S.S. Corp., 155 F.2d 992, 996. I agree with Judge Kirkpatrick that the principle of those cases is likewise applicable to foreign voyages. Shields v. United States, 73 F.Supp. 862, 866. Any difference is not apparent. In each the seaman binds himself for the period. The obligations to pay wages should be coterminous with that responsibility. Enochasson v. Freeport Sulphur Co., supra. The number of voyages made is therefore immaterial. It is the extent of the voyage that could be demanded that is controlling.
But that test is not sufficiently discriminating.
Even though a maximum cure has been effected, two entirely different states of being may result when the injured man is left totally disabled.
(1) He may be totally disabled but no longer in need of medical aid to care for the condition created by the injury nor without means of providing maintenance. That is nor the present case, at least so far as medical care is concerned. And we need not determine what rights to maintenance and cure one so situated has.
In the present case an award for maintenance and cure to cover a six-month period after discharge from the hospital was allowed. Nevertheless even though Farrell's expenses of care may be continuing, the district court judge refused any further award. I do not believe that these future expenses should be any less a charge on the ship than past expenses. To conclude as the Court now does that they are not is to ignore in part the salutary policy supporting the doctrine of maintenance and cure.
Maintenance and cure is an ancient doctrine. It reflects in part the concern which the state has had from an early date in a poor and improvident class of workers. See Mr. Justice Story in Harden v. Gordon, Fed. Cas. No. 6,047. It also recognizes the imperative necessity of the nation to maintain in peace and war a merchant marine.
Accordingly, the injuries of seamen arising out of the service were made a charge against the enterprise to the extent at least of maintenance and cure. Their maintenance and cure was indeed part of the cost of the business. It is nonetheless a legitimate cost though the expense continues beyond the time when a maximum cure has been effected.
"He will continue to have these spells and to have pain in the area of the fracture. He will need treatment and medical care from time to time and probably some care for the rest of his life. He was always a healthy individual before his accident and never showed any signs of epilepsy before then. The medical testimony also shows that his condition of blindness is permanent, that in all likelihood his convulsive attacks will continue, and possibly become more frequent, and without any possibility of a further cure. The attacks and headaches mentioned will require some care from time to time whenever they persist."
"The shipowner shall be liable to defray the expense of medical care and maintenance until the sick or injured person has been cured, or until the sickness or incapacity has been declared of a permanent character."
But Art. 12 contains a power to depart from that standard in this type of case. It provides:
"Nothing in this Convention shall affect any law, award, custom or agreement between shipowners and seamen which ensures more favourable conditions than those provided by this Convention."