Plaintiff, a seaman on board defendant's ship, went ashore on leave with the second cook. After returning to the ship, the two quarrelled and plaintiff knocked the cook down. The cook went to the galley and obtained a meat cleaver with which he struck plaintiff on the head, causing serious injury. Plaintiff brought suit against the ship owner for damages on the theory that in allowing a man of the cook's vicious proclivities to become a member of the crew, defendant failed to provide a "seaworthy" ship and that plaintiff had suffered injury as a result. Plaintiff appealed a verdict for the defendant on the grounds that the trial judge had erred in instructing the jury that defendant was under no duty to inquire or examine into the physical or mental condition of a prospective employee, that there could be no recovery unless the facts of the cook's temperament were known or should have been known to the defendant, and that the shipowner was not an insurer of the cook's disposition. On appeal, held, judgment reversed and new trial ordered. The warranty of seaworthiness to the crew of a ship includes a warranty in favor of each that the other crew members are equal in disposition and seamanship to the ordinary men in the calling and that the owner will be liable where a seaman is injured because of the unfitness of a fellow crewman. Keen v. Overseas Tankship Corp., (2d Cir. 1952) 194 F. (2d) 515.
Richard B. Barnett S.Ed.,
ADMIRALTY-UNSEAWORTHINESS OF VESSEL IN HAVING VICIOUS CREW MEMBER ABOARD,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol51/iss4/8