The opinion of the court was delivered by: GRIESA
This longshoreman's personal injury action was tried to a jury, resulting in a verdict for plaintiff in the amount of $50,000 based upon an unseaworthy condition on defendant Nederland's vessel, the NEDER WESER. The jury further found in effect that it was negligence on the part of third-party defendants Universal Terminal & Stevedoring Corp. and GTE International, Inc. which actually caused plaintiff's injury.
Under this verdict Nederland would be liable to plaintiff, but would be entitled to indemnity from Universal and GTE.
Universal and GTE move under Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b) for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. These motions are granted.
On April 11, 1970 the NEDER WESER was being loaded in Brooklyn, New York. The stevedoring work was being performed by Universal.
Plaintiff, an employee of Universal, was working in Number 2 Hatch and was walking on top of certain crates, preparing to assist in the placement of a crate then being lowered into the hatch. The top of one of the crates collapsed under plaintiff's weight and plaintiff was injured as a result.
The jury was asked to return a special verdict, and found that an unseaworthy condition on the vessel caused plaintiff's injury, that plaintiff was not contributorily negligent, and that the amount of damages to plaintiff was $50,000.
The crate causing the injury was shipped on the NEDER WESER by third-party defendant GTE.
The evidence shows that this crate was one of four crates which were shipped by GTE on the NEDER WESER. Two of these crates contained 8' diameter parabolic antennas and two of the crates contained mountings for these antennas. The antennas and their mountings had been ordered from GTE by Oilfield Supplies and Services for use in Saudi Arabia. GTE referred this order to its subsidiary, Lenkurt Electric Co. of Canada, Ltd. Lenkurt in turn purchased the antennas and the mountings from another Canadian company -- Ainslie Antenna Co., Ltd. of Montreal.
In the purchase order to Ainslie, there was the notation "Export Packing". Ainslie made a special charge for such packing.
GTE's freight forwarder arranged to have the four crates picked up from Ainslie. Ainslie delivered the four crates F.O.B. Montreal. A trucker hired by the freight forwarder transported the crates to Brooklyn and delivered them to Universal, which loaded the crates onto the vessel.
Beyond placing the notation "Export Packing" on the purchase order, neither GTE nor Lenkurt gave Ainslie any instructions as to how the equipment was to be packed. Neither GTE nor Lenkurt made any inspection of the crate at ...