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Kable v. United States.

decided.: June 9, 1949.

KABLE
v.
UNITED STATES.



Author: Dobie

Before CHASE, CLARK, and DOBIE, Circuit Judges.

DOBIE, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal by libelant, Paul E. Kable, from a final decree in admiralty, dated December 3, 1948, entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, dismissing his libel brought against respondent, the United States, as owner of the S.S. "George Vickers," for unpaid wages, maintenance and cure, and for damages for personal injuries sustained by Kable in a fight between Kable (first mate of the "George Vickers") and Svedman, who was chief engineer of this vessel.

A former final decree dismissing the libel and awarding costs to respondent was entered by the District Court January 23, 1948, 77 F.Supp. 515, 519. On appeal from that decree taken to this Court, this former final decree was affirmed in so far as it dismissed the claim of libelant for damages for personal injuries; but this decree was reversed in so far as it dismissed the claims of libelant for maintenance and cure, unpaid wages and damages for unpaid wages and the case was remanded to the District Court for the entry of findings upon these latter issues, particularly upon the issue of wilful misconduct, and for the entry of an appropriate decree in the light of the findings so made. The opinion of this Court, dated July 41, 1948, is reported at 169 F.2d 90.

On November 23, 1948, the District Court made further findings of fact and conclusions of law and disallowed any award for maintenance, cure, or wages. Final decree dismissing the libel and allowing costs to the United States was entered by the District Court on December 3, 1948. It is from this final decree that the present appeal is taken by libelant.

The further findings of fact by the District Judge after the remand were:

"1. About an hour or so after the initial assault by Kable on Svedman, Kable yelled two or three times in the alleyway outside of his and Svedman's rooms that 'he wanted his gun back and had ways and means of getting it.'

"2. Svedman thereupon left his room and went towards Kable's room to stop the yelling, which was disturbing Svedman and the other officers, and to produce quiet on board and the fighting between the two men was resumed.

"3. Kable's yelling, together with the language used by him, was a continuation of his original wilful misconduct in assaulting Svedman and Svedman was entitled to regard Kable's language and his presence in the alleyway as a threat by Kable to do Svedman further bodily harm.

"4. These acts of Kable precipitated Svedman's attack on Kable.

"5. The injuries sustained by Kable were the result of his own wilful misconduct."

As his one further conclusion of law, the District Judge found that Kable was not entitled to any award for maintenance, cure, or wages, and his claims therefor were disallowed.

We are urged by counsel for libelant on the present appeal to reverse the decision of the District Court against the libelant on his claim for personal injuries received in the second fight between libelant and Svedman. The basis for this contention appears to be finding of fact number 2 of the District Judge after remand. This finding (quoted above) reads:

"2. Svedman thereupon left his room and went towards Kable's room to stop the yelling, which was disturbing Svedman and the other officers, and to produce quiet on board and ...


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