Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Spooner v. Connecticut Fire Insurance Co.

March 11, 1963

ALLEN N. SPOONER & SON, INC., LIBELANT-APPELLANT,
v.
THE CONNECTICUT FIRE INSURANCE CO., RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.



Author: Hays

Before LUMBARD, Chief Judge, and SMITH and HAYS, Circuit Judges.

HAYS, Circuit Judge.

This is an action on a policy of marine hull insurance. The district court held that the loss on which appellant sued was not within the coverage of the policy and dismissed the libel. We reverse and direct that judgment be entered for the libelant.

Appellant takes no exception to the district court's findings of fact and we accept those findings as supported by the evidence. We disagree with the district court's application of the law to the facts as found.

Libelant's claim arises out of the loss of its crane barge, called Pulling Machine No. 12, while the barge was bareboat chartered to Richard W. Stasch, doing business as R. W. Stasch & Company. Stasch chartered the barge for the purpose of raising the sunken tanker Empress Bay from the East River where it lay in about 60foot of water approximately mid-channel between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.

Pulling Machine No. 12 consisted of a tower, or leader frame, about 75 feet in height mounted on a wooden barge 139foot long and 38foot wide. At all times prior to the accident in question the barge was well found and seaworthy.

On July 24, 1958 Pulling Machine No. 12 was engaged in lifting the Empress Bay. It was operating under the direction of Stasch who took a position on the bow of the No. 12 and transmitted orders by microphone. While the vessel was so engaged one of the guy wires supporting the crane parted and the crane collapsed and was lost over the side. The hull of the barge was so severely damaged by the collapse of the crane that it was concededly a constructive total loss.

The parting of the guy wire which resulted in the collapse of the crane was caused by the tilting of the barge while the lifting operation was in progress. The tilting of the barge was caused by the swells from a large vessel which passed the No. 12 just as it was engaged in the lifting operation.*fn1

The loss of the crane could have been prevented by the use of side slings with which the No. 12 was equipped and which would have controlled the "hoist load" so that the guy wire would not have been subjected to the breaking stress. Stasch was negligent in failing to use the side slings.

The district court did not make clear whether, in its view, the proximate cause of the loss of the barge was the negligence of Stasch or the swells from the passing tanker, although it characterized the latter as "a culminating factor in causing the accident". It is not necessary for us to resolve the issue because in our view the insurance company is liable on its policy in either case.

The No. 12 was covered by a marine insurance policy issued by appellee, two clauses of which are here involved.

The "Perils" clause provides:

"Touching the adventures and perils which we, the said Insurers, are contented to bear and take upon us, they are of the Harbors, Bays, Sounds, Seas and other waters as above named, and Fire, it being the intent of these Insurers to indemnify the Assured for these Insurers' proportion of General Average and/or Salvage Charges and/or loss, damage, detriment or hurt to the said vessel arising from perils aforementioned for which these Insurers may be liable under this policy; it is a condition precedent, however, to any liability under this policy, that the Assured establish that any claim, whether for general average charges, salvage expenses or loss, damage, detriment or hurt to said vessel, has been directly caused by a peril insured against as aforesaid, and that the Assured further establish that such general average salvage expenses or loss, damage, detriment or hurt has not arisen from or been caused by, either directly or indirectly, any of the following or other excluded causes, namely: incompetency of the master or insufficiency of the crew, or want of ordinary care in loading or unloading, stowing or broaching the cargo of the vessel; rottenness, inherent defects, or other unseaworthiness; theft, barratry, or robbery. It is further mutually agreed that this policy does not cover bursting or exploding of boilers, collapsing of flues or injury, derangement or breakage of machinery and/or any expense in consequence thereof or any ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.