The opinion of the court was delivered by: LEIBELL
1. Libelant, a woman now 67 years of age, was at the time the libel was filed, and still is, a resident of the City of New York.
2. At all of the times mentioned in the libel, claimant, Grace Line, Inc., owned, operated, managed and controlled the combination passenger-cargo steamship Santa Luisa.
3. Estelle Ludena, the libelant, became a passenger on the S.S. Santa Luisa at Callao, Peru, on or about March 7, 1949, under a ticket-contract (Ex. A.) issued to and signed by her, which provided for passage to New York, via the Canal Zone.
4. About two days prior to meeting with her injuries, libelant was transferred from Cabin No. 5 to Cabin No. 7. This transfer has no bearing on the question of liability in this suit.
5. Cabin No. 7 is situated upon the innerstarboard passageway of the "A" deck. The door to Cabin No. 7 is located at the port end of the cabin and opens inward from the starboard passageway. (Ex. 6).
6. The door of Cabin No. 7 when in an open position, was equipped with a spring door-holding device consisting of an omega shaped spring clip attached to the inner face of the door at the top and a rounded notched plug, affixed to the partition behind the door, which engaged the spring clip, held the door in a wide-open position, as shown on Exhibit F, when the door was pushed back against the partition.
7. In order to release the door of Cabin No. 7 from a wide-open position, a person would have to pull upon the door so that the spring clip would spread, thus releasing the plug and freeing the door so that it could be closed.
8. The door to Cabin No. 7 also had a hook-and-eye combination, with the eye upon the outer face of the door at the top and a short hook therefor upon the jamb. When the hook was inserted in the eye on the door it held the door in a partially open position (about six inches). The hook when not in use rested in another eye on the partition near the jamb, as shown on Exhibit 1.
9. The athwartship vestibule of Cabin No. 7, into which the door opened, was not equipped with a handrail. But the passageway outside the cabin had a handrail.
10. The Santa Luisa left the Atlantic breakwater of the Canal at 11:31 p.m. on March 14, 1949, and upon entering the Caribbean Sea she encountered moderate northeasterly swells and winds which increased somewhat during the following day. On March 15th the vessel was rolling moderately in moderately rough northeasterly seas and long heavy swells until libelant met with her injuries the evening of March 15th. See ship's log, Ex. B.
11. About 7:15 p.m. of March 15, 1949, while the Santa Luisa was rolling moderately in the Caribbean Sea, libelant entered her room in order to freshen up for dinner. The temperature on deck that afternoon had been in the upper seventies. The wind force was between 4 and 5 (Beaufort scale) -- moderate to fresh.
12. Libelant suffered her accident about 7:30 p.m. while leaving her Cabin No. 7 on the vessel's starboard side, when one or more fingers of her right hand were caught between the door of the cabin and the door jamb. The knob and lock were on the right hand side of the door as one faced the door from the corridor outside. The libelant, while standing in the corridor, after leaving her cabin, was grasping the door knob with her left hand and with her right hand was attempting to adjust the buttons in the door lock so that it would automatically lock when closed. While so doing, the vessel rolled toward starboard, causing libelant to push into the cabin holding onto the door to maintain her balance. When the vessel rolled to port, the libelant, still with her hands on the door in the position above described, was forced backwards to port out into the corridor, pulling the door with her until it closed on several fingers of her right hand and they were caught between the door and the jamb. It was a metal covered door of fireproof construction.
13. As a result of the accident several fingers of her right hand were bruised and the right middle finger sustained compound fractures and was ...