APPEAL from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Louisiana.
This was a libel filed by Shirley and others, owners of the steamboat 'Sabine.' They allege, in substance, that between two and three o'clock of the morning of Feb. 11, 1872, while she was descending the Mississippi River about twelve miles above New Orleans, the steamer 'Richmond' ran into and sunk her; that the collision was owing entirely to the gross and culpable negligence of the officers and pilot of the 'Richmond;' and that the libellants suffered damages to the sum of $37,500.
The owners of the 'Richmond' filed an answer and cross-libel, claiming $12,000 damages.
The Merchants' Mutual Insurance Company filed its libel against the 'Richmond' and the 'Sabine,' alleging that it had insured the cargo of the 'Sabine,' and paid a large sum on the policy, and that both vessels were at fault.
Other intervenors appeared and filed their respective libels.
The suits were consolidated. The District Court dismissed the libel April 14, 1873. An appeal was prayed for and allowed to the Circuit Court, which adjudged and decreed, April 19, 1875, that the libel of the 'Sabine' be dismissed with costs; that the 'Richmond' recover of the 'Sabine' all damages the 'Richmond' suffered by the collision; that the libel of the Merchants' Mutual Insurance Company against the 'Sabine' and the 'Richmond' be dismissed as to the 'Richmond;' and that said company and intervenors have judgment against N. C. Selby, master of the steamer 'Sabine,' for all damages sustained by the company by reason of said collision, with privilege on any balance of the proceeds in the registry arising from the sale of the 'Sabine.'
It was further ordered that it be referred to J. W. Gurley, United States commissioner, to ascertain and report the damage sustained by the 'Richmond,' the Merchants' Mutual Insurance Company, and the intervenors. He reported, June 4, 1875, that the 'Richmond' had sustained damages in the sum of $7,392.60. He subsequently filed a report of the losses of the Merchants' Mutual Insurance Company and of the various insurance companies, subrogees of the individual intervenors.
The court, March 11, 1876, confirmed the report and condemned the sureties on the bond of the 'Sabine' to pay the amount for which they respectively bound themselves. The owners of the 'Sabine' and the various insurance companies prayed an appeal from the decrees of the Circuit Court.
The insurance companies who claimed to be subrogated to the rights of the individual intervenors filed no new pleadings.
Mr. Bentinck Egan, Mr. R. H. Marr, and Mr. Charles B. Singleton for the appellants.
Mr. Given Campbell, contra.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE delivered the opinion of the court.
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