MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Leighton Beard was a longshoreman employed by Atlantic and Gulf Stevedores, Inc. Atlantic, the petitioner, performed stevedoring services for respondents. Beard received injuries while helping to discharge bales of burlap from a vessel owned by respondents. These bales, loaded in India, were bound by four parallel one-inch steel bands that petitioner had not placed around the bales but were part of the cargo; and each bale, containing 30 to 40 bolts of burlap, was stowed in tiers. The discharging operation consisted of pulling the bales from their stowed positions to the hatch and then raising them vertically through the hatch and lowering them onto the pier. This was accomplished by using a ring to which six equal-length ropes were attached. A hook was on the end of each rope; and two hooks were used on each bale, three bales being raised in one operation. Beard and his co-workers would signal the winch operator to pull the bales from their stow to a position under the hatch. When the sideways movement had ended, the bales would be raised vertically. After several hours of one unloading operation, two bands of one bale broke. The bale fell, injuring Beard.
The evidence showed that Atlantic played no part in the loading or stowage of this cargo of burlap. There were sixty-three tons of bales in the forward end of the
Beard sued respondents in the District Court on the basis of diversity of citizenship, alleging that their vessel was unseaworthy and that they were negligent. Respondents impleaded petitioner, alleging that it was negligent in its manner and method of unloading and asking indemnity from it in case respondents were held liable to Beard. Counsel near the end of the trial agreed upon five special interrogatories, to which the jury responded as follows:
On appeal it was argued, inter alia, that a finding of negligence on the part of respondents was warranted because they failed to provide a safe place to work in view of the manner in which the New York cargo was stowed. With this the Court of Appeals agreed. Negligence on the part of respondents, it said, was also established by the knowledge of their chief mate that the use of bale hooks was a dangerous way to discharge burlap bales, and from evidence that bands on the bales broke in "roughly between 3 and 5 percent of the bales" during discharging operations. The court said that though the use of bale hooks may have been customary in Philadelphia, such use was not sufficient to relieve respondents of negligence.
It went on to say that there was evidence to show that respondents, by virtue of the manner of loading, were negligent in not affording Beard a safe place to work. It held, however, that since the "warranty of workmanlike service extends to the handling of cargo . . . as well as to the use of equipment incidental to cargo handling" (Waterman Co. v. Dugan & McNamara, 364 U.S. 421, 423), petitioner was liable, as a matter of law, to respondents. For if it was negligent for respondents to permit Beard to work in an unsafe place, it was "equally negligent" for petitioner to handle the cargo in the manner it did, in light of the unsafe place where Beard worked. 289 F.2d 201, 207.
The Court of Appeals therefore affirmed the judgment in favor of Beard and against respondents on the issue of negligence (without reaching the question of unseaworthiness), but reversed the judgment in favor of Atlantic. The case is here on a petition for certiorari. 368 U.S. 874.
We might agree with the Court of Appeals had the questions of fact been left to us. But neither we nor the
The requirements of the Seventh Amendment were brought into play in this case, even though a stevedoring contract is a maritime contract.
Congress since 1789, in giving Federal District Courts original jurisdiction of civil cases in admiralty, has saved "to suitors in all cases all other remedies to which they are otherwise entitled." 28 U. S. C. § 1333 (1). Therefore, a suit for breach of a maritime contract, while it may be brought in admiralty, may also be pursued in an ordinary civil action,
This suit being in the federal courts by reason of diversity of citizenship carried with it, of course, the right to trial by jury. As in cases under the Jones Act (Schulz v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 350 U.S. 523; Senko v. LaCrosse Dredging Corp., 352 U.S. 370) and under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (Tennant v. Peoria & P. U. R. Co., 321 U.S. 29; Ellis v. Union Pacific R. Co., 329 U.S. 649, 653; Dice v. Akron, C. & Y. R. Co., 342 U.S. 359; Rogers v. Missouri Pacific R. Co., 352 U.S. 500), trial by jury is part of the remedy. Thus the provisions of the Seventh Amendment, noted above, are brought into play. Schulz v. Pennsylvania R. Co., supra, at 524. As we recently stated in another diversity case, it is the Seventh Amendment that fashions "the federal policy favoring jury decisions of disputed fact questions." Byrd v. Blue Ridge Cooperative, 356 U.S. 525, 538, 539. And see Herron v. Southern Pac. Co., 283 U.S. 91, 94-95.
In answer to interrogatories Nos. 4 and 5 the jury found that petitioner had not failed to perform its contractual obligation to respondents. The contract provided that petitioner should do the work "with every care and due dispatch to the satisfaction" of the owners. In its charge to the jury the District Court said that the owner had a duty to provide longshoremen a safe place to work; and it left to the jury whether respondents had warning that the method of unloading was unsafe and whether the manner of loading the cargo by respondents made this an unsafe place for Beard to work. It left to
The Court of Appeals held that the jury had been charged too restrictively, that their attention had been called only to the manner of using the hook. The trial judge did indeed charge:
But it went further and charged that if petitioner was responsible for the breaking of the bands, petitioner would be liable:
It also charged that if the verdict was for Beard, the jury should determine whether petitioner created the condition that made respondents liable. It charged:
The trial judge further charged:
More specifically the trial judge charged:
We disagree with the Court of Appeals that the trial judge limited the issue of petitioner's liability to "the use of the bale hook method in discharging the cargo." 289 F. 2d, at p. 208. When the District Court charged that in determining petitioner's contractual obligation the jury should decide "whether or not there was a reasonably safe discharge" of the cargo, it included the totality of the circumstances.
The question of the manner in which the New York cargo had been stored was prominent in the case; and the trial judge left it to the jury on the question of respondents' negligence. On the issue of petitioner's liability his charge was no more precise than has been indicated. Yet respondents did not ask for more on this phase of the controversy. In their requested charge they were no more specific, except they maintained,
We cannot say that petitioner was liable as a matter of law nor that the trial judge in the charge to the jury omitted any ingredient from petitioner's contractual liability. Moreover, we cannot say that the jury's verdict was inconsistent. The Court of Appeals said that the case of the respondents' negligence was established because
So far as we know the jury may have found respondents liable not on either of those two grounds but solely on a third, namely, because of defective bands—a matter which was covered by the charge to the jury on the issue of unseaworthiness, and properly so. Weyerhaeuser S. S. Co. v. Nacirema Co., 355 U.S. 563, 567. If that was the jury's view of the facts, then petitioner plainly would not be liable under its warranty. Where there is a view of the case that makes the jury's answers to special interrogatories consistent, they must be resolved that way. For a search for one possible view of the case which will make the jury's finding inconsistent results in a collision with the Seventh Amendment. Arnold v. Panhandle & S. F. R. Co., 353 U.S. 360. Cf. Dick v. New York Life Ins. Co., 359 U.S. 437, 446.
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN concurs in the result.
In my view the Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the respondents were entitled to indemnity from the petitioner under principles first set forth by this Court in Ryan Co. v. Pan-Atlantic Corp., 350 U.S. 124, and followed in Weyerhaeuser S. S. Co. v. Nacirema Co., 355 U.S. 563, Crumady v. The J. H. Fisser, 358 U.S. 423, and Waterman Co. v. Dugan & McNamara, 364 U.S. 421.
Beard's action was based upon both negligence and unseaworthiness. The respondents were alleged to have been negligent (1) in permitting the use of the bale hook method of discharging the bales, particularly in view of the chief officer's statement that he thought the method dangerous, and (2) in improperly stowing the New York cargo and thereby failing to use ordinary care to provide Beard with a safe place to work.
As we said only last Term in Waterman Co. v. Dugan & McNamara, supra, at 423, the stevedore's "warranty of workmanlike service extends to the handling of cargo . . . as well as to the use of equipment incidental to cargo handling . . . ." If the respondents were negligent in permitting the petitioner's use of a dangerous method of unloading cargo, the petitioner surely breached its "warranty
It is questionable whether the right to a jury trial under the Seventh Amendment is involved in this case, since the respondents' rights against the petitioner depend upon a maritime contract, not upon the common law. American Stevedores, Inc., v. Porello, 330 U.S. 446, 456. We need not pursue that inquiry, however, because in any event nothing in the Seventh Amendment removes the duty of a trial judge to give proper instructions to a jury, or the duty of a reviewing court to correct a trial judge's errors. Fed. Rules Civ. Proc., 50. Here, each possible ground of the respondents' negligence vis-a-vis the original plaintiff involved a breach of the petitioner's warranty as a matter of law. The Court of Appeals correctly held that the trial judge was in error in not so instructing the jury.
I would affirm.
"If, on the other hand, you find in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant, and the basis of your finding is that the method of discharging was not reasonably safe and proper under the circumstances existing at the time of the accident, then I charge you that under these circumstances you must further find a verdict in favor of the defendant and against Atlantic & Gulf Stevedores, Inc."