The Hamilton - 207 U.S. 398 (1907)
U.S. Supreme Court
The Hamilton, 207 U.S. 398 (1907)
Argued October 24, 1907
Decided December 23, 1907
207 U.S. 398
Until Congress acts on the subject, a state may legislate in regard to the duties and liabilities of its citizens and corporations while on the high seas and not within the territory of any other sovereign.
Where a fund is being distributed in a proceeding to limit the liability of the owners of a vessel, all claims to which the admiralty does not deny existence must be recognized, whether admiralty liens or not.
The statute of Delaware giving damages for death caused by tort is a valid exercise of the legislative power of the state, and extends to the case of a citizen of that state wrongfully killed while on the high seas in a vessel
belonging to a Delaware corporation by the negligence of another vessel also belonging to a Delaware corporation. A claim against the owner of one of the vessels in fault can be enforced in a proceeding in admiralty brought by such owner to limit its liability.
When both vessels in collision are in fault, the representative of a seaman on one of the vessels, killed without contributory negligence on his part, may, in a proceeding to limit liability, where an action is given by the state statute against the owner of the other vessel, recover full damages, and are not limited to damages recoverable under the maritime law against the seaman's own vessel for death or injury caused by negligence of the master thereof or his fellow servant thereon. Neither the seaman's contract with the owner of the vessel he is on, nor the negligence of his own vessel, nor any provision of the Harter Act affects the claim against the other vessel.
146 F. 724 affirmed.
The facts are stated in the opinion.