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GIUFFRE v. THE MAGDALENE VINNEN

June 20, 1957

Giuseppe GIUFFRE, Libelant,
v.
The MAGDALENE VINNEN, F. A. Vinnen & Co. and North German Lloyd, Respondents, and North German Lloyd and Anchor Stevedoring Co., Inc., Impleaded-Respondents



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BYERS

This is a motion by North German Lloyd, one of the two impleaded respondents in the above cause, to dismiss the petition under the 56 Rule, as to it, for alleged lack of jurisdiction in view of a certain arbitration clause later to be referred to; or in the alternative, for a stay of proceedings under the said petition, pending arbitration. For reasons briefly to be explained, the alternative relief will be granted.

The libelant's cause is set forth in his libel filed January 10, 1955, in which it is alleged that on January 21, 1952 he was in the employ of Anchor Stevedoring Company as longshoreman, and was lawfully on board the S.S. Magdalene Vinnen, which was then alongside a pier on the Brooklyn waterfront.

 That while he was performing his duties at the No. 1 hatch, he was caused to be struck in both lower legs by a draft of steel, and thereupon suffered injury, said to have rendered him permanently and totally disabled.

 That this result was brought about by the unseaworthy condition of the vessel and negligence on the part of Vinnen and North German Lloyd, to maintain the hatches in a safe and seaworthy condition in numerous respects 'and in failing to employ experienced and skilled employees;' also, in failing and neglecting to provide him with a reasonably safe place in which to work.

 That the injuries so suffered were without fault on the part of the libelant.

 It appears that Vinnen & Co. is the owner of the ship and the North German Lloyd the charterer, which explains why the vessel was sued and both said companies named as respondents. It should be said that both corporations are foreign, but are said to have offices in the City of New York.

 By stipulation of November 18, 1955 signed by the proctor for libelant, the cause was discontinued as against North German Lloyd.

 On November 14, 1956, separate impleading petitions were filed on behalf of Vinnen against North German Lloyd and Anchor Stevedoring Co., Inc., but as stated, this motion is made only by the former.

 Vinnen's answer to the libel was filed simultaneously with the filing of these petitions, wherein ownership of the vessel on the day in question was admitted.

 The answer also admits that Vinnen 'through its officers and crew, managed, operated and controlled only those parts of the S.S. Magdalene Vinnen which were not managed, operated and controlled by the libelant, his co-workers, his superiors and Anchor Stevedoring Co., Inc., and other independent contractors.'

 The answer admits that Vinnen manned the vessel and equipped and provisioned her 'with only such equipment and provisions as were not furnished by the charterer, the stevedore and other independent contractors.'

 Further, that there was a contract made with Anchor for the purpose of discharging and loading cargo from the vessel, which is said to have been entered into between Anchor and North German Lloyd. This means that the latter was the charterer of the vessel at the time in question.

 The impleading petition refers to the charter and states that 'under the terms and provisions of said agreement, North German Lloyd agreed to assume certain obligations and responsibilities.' Among the latter, that it would furnish necessary stevedoring services through the engagement of a stevedore for its own account and its own expense.

 Further, as to North German Lloyd that 'since the stevedores were to be engaged by it, it assumed the responsibility for stowage of the S.S. 'Magdalene Vinnen',' which agreement (charter) was in effect from ...


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