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Titanic Compensation Cases

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Titanic Compensation Cases

Post by Karen on Mon 30 Apr 2012 - 7:03

Titanic Victim's Tips.

In a Titanic compensation case at Southampton, on Tuesday the county court judge held that a pantryman's tips should not be calculated as being included in his earnings. The widow claimed 300 pounds, but only 192 pounds was awarded.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, November 10, 1912, Page 21

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Re: Titanic Compensation Cases

Post by Karen on Mon 30 Apr 2012 - 21:43

Recent Decisions.
BRAILEY v. C.W. AND F.N. BLACK.

Workmen's Compensation Act 1906 - Member of Orchestra employed on Steamship Titanic when she foundered in the Atlantic Ocean - Seaman - Member of Crew.

The above case was heard before His Honour Judge Thomas at Liverpool County Court. The facts and arguments appear in the judgment which was delivered on the 1st Nov.

Adshead Elliott (instructed by Hall, Son, and Hawkins, Manchester), for the applicants, cited the following cases: The Prince George (1837, 3 Hagg. 376); The Jane and Matilda (1823, 1 Hagg. 187); Re Great Eastern Steamship Company (53 L.T. Rep. 594; 5 Asp. Mar. Law Cas. 511); Schwartz v. India Rubber, &c., Company (30 C.C.C. Rep. 496; 106 L.T. Rep. 706; (1912) 2 K.B. 299).
A.T. Miller (instructed by Miller, Taylor, and Holmes, Liverpool), for the respondents, cited The Ruby (No. 2) (78 L.T. Rep. 235; (1898) P. 59); Anglo-Argentine Live Stock, &c., Agency v. Temperley Shipping Company (81 L.T. Rep. 296; (1899) 2 Q.B. 403); Krzus v. Crow's Nest Pass Coal Company (107 L.T. Rep. 77; (1912) A.C. 590)

His HONOUR. - In this arbitration the applicants, as dependants of William Francis Brailey, deceased, claim compensation from the respondents, C.W. and F.N. Black, a firm carrying on business in Liverpool as music directors. The deceased was employed by the respondents as a member of the band of the steamship Titanic and lost his life when that vessel foundered on the 15th April of this year. This case was argued before me as a test case to determine the question whether the Workmen's Compensation Act applied to the employment of the bandsmen, who were eight in number. The first point made by Mr. Adshead Elliott, who appeared for the applicants, was that inasmuch as the employment of the deceased was an employment on a British ship registered in the United Kingdom, the employment must be regarded as within the United Kingdom. A decision binding upon me has already been given on the point by the Court of Appeal adverse to Mr. Adshead Elliott's contention, and Mr. Adshead Elliott therefore simply raised the question for the purpose of obtaining a passport to the Court of Appeal and thence to the House of Lords. I cannot, however, encourage him upon the journey, because the decision is not only binding upon me, but, if I may respectfully say so, is one in which I entirely concur. This decision would not, however, be fatal to the applicants' case if Mr. Adshead Elliott succeeded upon his second and main contention. This was that the employment was within sect. 7 of the Act. That section provides that the Act shall apply to "masters, seamen, and apprentices to the sea service and the sea fishing service, provided that such persons are workmen within the meaning of the Act, and are members of the crew of any ship registered in the United Kingdom." Mr. Elliott properly admitted that to bring this case within the section he must prove that the deceased was a workman within the meaning of the Act, "a seaman," and "a member of the crew." It is necessary, therefore, to consider under what condition the deceased was employed on the ship. The respondents were under a contract with the owners of the ship to provide a band. The deceased was engaged by the respondents as a member of the band. He did not sign any written agreement with the respondents because he was hurriedly transferred from one vessel to another on the day that the Titanic sailed. But I was asked by Mr. Adshead Elliott to infer, and I think it right to infer, that he was employed on the voyage in question on the same terms as the other members of the band, who had signed written agreements, and of which a copy was put in. The agreement made between the bandsmen and the respondents provided, so far as it is necessary for me to refer to its terms, for the employment of the bandsman as an instrumentalist, to play on board any of the White Star Company's vessels to which the respondents should appoint him, at a wage of 4 pounds per month. There were provisions as to length of hours, sleeping accommodation and board, as to discipline and as to fines. It was provided that the bandsman should pass the shipowner's doctor if required. This agreement was different to one which had at one time been in force. Formerly, and apparently up to March of this year, the White Star Company had insisted on the bandsmen signing the articles at a nominal wage of 1s. a month. The original contract of the White Star Company with the respondents provided for this. In their turn the respondents formerly had a clause in their agreements with the bandsmen providing for this, but for some reason, early this year, the White Star Company altered their course of dealing in this respect. They ceased to insist upon the bandsmen signing the articles, and they insisted upon shipping them as "second class passengers" instead, and issued a ticket or tickets to them as such passengers, and their names were put on the official passenger list and were not included among the crew. Probably this change was made to prevent any question of liability under the Merchant Shipping Act or the Workmen's Compensation Act arising in respect of the bandsmen. The deceased must be taken to have assented to this, as he did not sign the articles, and his name was included in the passenger ticket given to the bandsmen and in the list of passengers. The White Star Company had, therefore, done what they could to make it clear that they desired that the bandsmen should not be regarded as members of the crew. But Mr. Adshead Elliott contends that inasmuch as they were employed on a ship, for the purpose of the owners and in connection with the ship, and were to a certain extent under the control of the captain, they must be regarded as seamen within the meaning of the Merchant Shipping Act and the Workmen's Compensation Act, and as members of the crew. He argued that even if they were not directly employed by the owners, they were hired by them, and that the clauses as to discipline and fines in the contract between the respondents and the bandsmen were inconsistent with their being regarded merely as passengers. These clauses, however, are provisions to which the owners were not a party, and they do not appear to me to amount to more than a means by which the respondents sought to secure that the bandsmen would conduct themselves with propriety on board, and not be offensive to the officers of the ship. No difficulty arises on the question as to whether the deceased was a "workman." The difficulty arises on the question as to whether he was a "seaman" and a "member of the crew." The incorporation of a definition given for the purpose of one Act in another Act often gives rise to difficulty. The definition in the Merchant Shipping Act is extremely wide, but must be subject to some limitation, and that limitation must, in my view, be sought in the nature of the employment and also in the employer. It could not, for example, be held to apply to a nurse employed by a passenger. Now here the employment was not one necessary for the navigation or maintenance of the ship, or the crew, or passengers. It was in the nature of a luxury. It was not an employment directly by the owners of the ship, and in the circumstances of this case it would, I think, be a wrong application of the definition of seaman to hold that the deceased was within it. It might have been different if the deceased had been made to sign the articles at a nominal wage. In that case it would not, I think, have been unfair to hold that the employers, the owners, were estopped from denying that he was a seaman within the meaning of the Act. When we come to a consideration of the term "member of the crew," the difficulty in the way of the applicants is till greater. The owners did not treat the deceased as a member of the crew. It would have been impossible for them to have enforced against him a claim to subject him to the liabilities and duties of a member of the crew. And in such a matter there must be some reciprocity. If the deceased was no longer subject to the liabilities and duties of a member of the crew, can he be said to be entitled to the rights? If, as between the owners and him, there is no sufficient ground for holding that he was a "seaman" and a "member of the crew," can he be said, for the purpose of making his employer responsible under the Workmen's Compensation Act, to be constructively a "seaman" and a "member of the crew"? In my judgment he cannot. If one looks at the 7th section fairly and all its provisions, I think it is clearly intended only to apply to one employed in or apprenticed to sea service properly so called. The rules and forms do not provide for any claims other than against an owner. Such a case as the present was obviously not within the contemplation of those who made the forms. On all these grounds I think the employment of the deceased was not one to which the Act applies, and the application must fail. I wish to add this observation: Although I have felt compelled to hold that the Workmen's Compensation Act does not apply to the bandsmen, yet I cannot forget that these brave men met their death while performing an act which was of the greatest service in assisting to maintain discipline and avert panic. I hope the committee which is administering the "Titanic Relief Fund" may consider whether it is possible for them out of that fund to give such relief as may prevent the dependants from suffering from the fact that they have no legal claims under the Act. My award is in favour of the respondents, with costs on Scale B.

Source: County Courts Chronicle, January 1, 1913, Page 8

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Re: Titanic Compensation Cases

Post by Karen on Fri 18 May 2012 - 22:16

TITANIC WIDOW'S CLAIM.

A proposal by the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company to pay 100 pounds compensation to Mrs. Broughton, an Ashford widow, respecting the loss of her son, an assistant steward, who went down with the Titanic, came before the judge at Ashford County Court on Tuesday.
Mrs. Broughton said her son had always paid her 3 pounds a month. His honour said he did not consider the compensation offered sufficient, and he declined to record the amount.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, September 15, 1912, Page 6

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