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BAUMAN v. ALCOA

October 27, 1944

BAUMAN
v.
ALUMINUM CO. OF AMERICA



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MOSCOWITZ

MOSCOWITZ, District Judge.

This is a motion made by the plaintiff for an order striking out the second, third, fourth and fifth defenses and "so much of the first defense as alleges contributory negligence of plaintiff as contained in the defendant's amended answer on the ground that the same are not legal defenses and are insufficient in law upon the face thereof."

The second defense contains the following paragraphs:

 "Third: That the Defense Plant Corporation is a corporation formed as a governmental agency of the United States, formed for the purpose of construction of defense plants in the furtherance of the war efforts of the United States, and was and is immune from any suits at law arising out of the construction of such defense plant or plants.

 "Fourth: That the construction work referred to in the complaint was owned by the Defense Plant Corporation and was part of a defense plant being erected and constructed by said Defense Plant Corporation and solely for the purposes for which said Defense Plant Corporation was formed.

 "Fifth: That at all the times and places mentioned in the complaint the defendant functioned solely for and in behalf of said Defense Plant Corporation in its furtherance of the war efforts of the United States, and thereby was and is immune from any suits at law arising out of the construction of such Defense Plant or out of any of the matters and things referred to in the complaint."

 The third defense contains the following paragraph: "Sixth: That under and by virtue of the laws of the United States and the State of New York this action may not be maintained against defendant, and defendant is immune from any liability therefrom."

 The fourth defense contains the following paragraph: "Seventh: That under and by virtue of the laws of the United States and the State of Arkansas this action may not be maintained against defendant and defendant is immune from any liability therefrom."

 The fifth defense contains the following paragraph: "Eighth: That at the times alleged in the complaint herein it was and now is the law of the State of Arkansas that defendant was under no duty with respect to the erection or maintenance of the premises or scaffold mentioned in the complaint herein and that there was no failure of duty on defendant's part with respect thereto, as to plaintiff."

 The second defense is that the defendant is immune from any suits at law arising out of the construction of a defense plant upon the ground that the Defense Plant Corporation is a corporation formed as a governmental agency of the United States, for the purpose of construction of defense plants in furtherance of the war efforts, and that the construction work referred to in the complaint was owned by the Defense Plant Corporation, and that the defendant functioned solely for and in behalf of the Defense Plant Corporation in its furtherance of the war efforts.

 The Defense Plant Corporation was organized pursuant to Title 15 U.S.C.A. § 606b(3). This section authorized and empowered the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, by direction of the executive authority, to organize corporations such as a defense plant corporation.

 No authorities have been pointed out by the defendant indicating in any way that the defendant thereby became immune from an action of this character. No such immunity exists. Reconstruction Finance Corporation v. J.G. Menihan Corporation, 312 U.S. 81, 61 S. Ct. 485, 85 L. Ed. 595; Keifer & Keifer v. Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 306 U.S. 381, 59 S. Ct. 516, 83 L. Ed. 784. The second defense is therefore insufficient.

 The third defense alleges that under and by virtue of the laws of the United States and the State of New York this action may not be maintained against the defendant and that the defendant is immune from any liability therefrom.

 The plaintiff's cause of action is based upon the laws of the State of Arkansas, the accident having occurred there. Arkansas law therefore applies; ...


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