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CRUZ v. AMERICAN EXPORT ISBRANDTSEN LINES

March 5, 1970

Alejandro CRUZ, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN EXPORT ISBRANDTSEN LINES, INC., Defendant


Tenney, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: TENNEY

TENNEY, District Judge.

This is a suit in admiralty commenced by plaintiff under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 688, to recover damages for injuries sustained while employed aboard the "S.S. FLYING CLIPPER", a vessel owned and operated by the defendant corporation. Plaintiff alleged to the Court, sitting without a jury, that his injuries were sustained by reason of the negligence of defendant's agents and the unseaworthiness of its vessel. Post-trial memoranda were submitted by the parties, and, at the Court's request, proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law were also submitted. Having heard the testimony, examined the record and exhibits, and having carefully considered counsel's supporting briefs and applicable authority, the Court makes the following determinations.

 Findings of Fact.

 1. Plaintiff is an American seaman.

 2. Defendant is a corporation engaged in the steamship business with an office and principal place of business in New York City.

 3. Defendant owned and operated the S.S. FLYING CLIPPER at all times relevant herein.

 4. On the 10th of April, 1965, plaintff "signed-on" defendant's vessel as an able-bodied seaman. He was employed in this capacity for three voyages commencing April 10, 1965 and terminating September 3, 1965.

 5. Plaintiff took a pre-sign-on physical examination given by defendant's doctor and was found fit for duty. *fn1"

 6. On August 30, 1965, while the S.S. FLYING CLIPPER was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, plaintiff returned to the vessel in an intoxicated condition.

 7. Prior to and during the time the alleged injury was sustained, plaintiff was inebriated due to his consumption of large quantities of rum. *fn2"

 8. After the chief officer found plaintiff in this condition, he went to inform the Master of the situation.

 9. The chief officer and Master returned and found Cruz "ranting and raving", irrational and still intoxicated. *fn3"

 10. Plaintiff was not violent and did not attempt to strike the chief officer or the Master. Neither the Master nor anyone else was threatened by Mr. Cruz. *fn4"

 11. While under the influence of alcohol, Cruz refused the Master's order to go to the ship's hospital.

 12. Upon such refusal, the Master sent the chief officer to get steel handcuffs. The chief officer was then ordered to apply the handcuffs to the plaintiff's wrists. *fn5"

 13. After the handcuffs were applied, Cruz calmed down and went compliantly to the hospital where he was placed in bed. *fn6"

 14. He again began to rant and rave, and, in order to contain him, he was shackled to the hospital bunk with an additional pair of handcuffs. ...


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