Rogers v. Steamer St. Charles
THIS was an appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the eastern district of Louisiana, sitting in admiralty.
It was a case of collision under the circumstances stated in the opinion of the court.
It was argued by Mr. Benjamin for the appellants, and Mr. Nelson for the appellees.
Mr. Benjamin made the following points:
I. The undisputed facts are as follows: The Ella was at anchor; the night was dark and rainy; the hour of the collision was about half-past eleven, P. M.; the St. Charles was running at a speed of eight or nine miles an hour, at least; the collision occurred by the steamer's running at that rate of speed against a vessel at anchor in a dark night.
II. We allege that the Ella was anchored in a proper place, and out of the track usually pursued by steamers from New Orleans to Mobile or Pensacola.
III. The Ella had her light out in the customary manner. This is proven by a number of witness, and their testimony is not to be overthrown by the oath of witnesses on the steamer, that they did not see it.
IV. It was extreme imprudence in the St. Charles to run at her rate of speed in a dark night, in waters crowded with small vessels in a place where they usually anchor. The speed is stated by the witnesses at ten or eleven knots an hour, eight or nine knots, and ten knots. Yet this speed was not checked, although several vessels were confessedly anchored together where the Ella was, all with lights displayed.
The points taken in Mr. Nelson's brief were the following, viz:
By referring to the report of the commissioner and the decree of the District Court, it will be perceived that the claim of Brooks & Randolph is for the sum of eight hundred and thirty-five dollars and five cents, and that of John Hurley & Co. thirteen hundred and sixty-eight dollars and ninety-eight cents, sums insufficient to sustain the jurisdiction of this court, and that this appeal, as far as concerns them, must be dismissed. 6 Peters, 143; Oliver v. Alexander, &c.
With regard to the remaining libellants, the appellees will maintain that, upon the evidence, it is clear that the collision complained of was in no wise attributable to the fault or negligence of those navigating the steamer, but was the result of a want of care on the part of the schooner, and that the decree of the Circuit Court ought to be affirmed.
Mr. Justice NELSON delivered the opinion of the court.