The Eliza Lines - 199 U.S. 119 (1905)
U.S. Supreme Court
The Eliza Lines, 199 U.S. 119 (1905)
The Eliza Lines
Argued April 11-13, 1905
Decided October 30, 1905
199 U.S. 119
A vessel bound on a voyage from Pensacola to Montevideo with a cargo of lumber under a charter party, "the dangers of the seas, fire and navigation always mutually excepted," was abandoned, justifiably, in consequence of dangers of the seas and was afterwards picked up by salvors and brought into Boston. The master, who was at St. John, was notified and claimed the vessel and cargo from the salvors, stating his intention to repair the vessel and complete the voyage, to which cargo owners objected, claiming that the voyage was abandoned and they were entitled to the cargo and obtained an order for its sale. The circuit court held that the master should have been allowed to complete the voyage and earn freight and charged the cargo owners personally with the net freight. Held error, and that the abandonment of the vessel by the master and crew gave the cargo owners the right to refuse to go on with the voyage and that they were not to be treated as guilty of breach of contract for preventing the continuance of the voyage by their refusing to do so and procuring the sale.
An open cessation of performance with the intent to do no more, even if justified, excuses the other party from further performance on his side.
The same principles which apply to the making of a contract apply to the breach of it, and to nonperformance of the conditions attached to the other side.
If there is no injustice, it is desirable that the maritime law of this country and of England should agree.
The facts are stated in the opinion.