Commercial Molasses Corp. v. New York Tank Barge Corp.
314 U.S. 104 (1941)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Commercial Molasses Corp. v. New York Tank Barge Corp., 314 U.S. 104 (1941)

Commercial Molasses Corp. v. New York Tank Barge Corp.

No. 14

Reargued October 16, 1941

Decided November 17, 1941

314 U.S. 104

Syllabus

1. In the case of an unexplained sinking of a vessel under circumstances which may give rise to an inference of unseaworthiness, the party on whom the burden of proof rests must do more than make a case upon the whole evidence so evenly balanced that the trier of fact is unable to resolve doubts as to the validity of the inference. Pp. 314 U. S. 105, 314 U. S. 114.

2. Where the owner of a vessel has not assumed the common carrier's special undertaking to deliver the cargo safely, the burden of proving a breach of the shipowner's duty to furnish a seaworthy vessel rests upon the bailor. P. 314 U. S. 110.

3. The burden of proof in such a case does not shift with the evidence, but remains with the bailor, who must prove his case by a preponderance of all the evidence. P. 314 U. S. 110.

114 F.2d 248 affirmed.

This case came here on certiorari, 311 U.S. 643, to review the affirmance of a judgment dismissing petitioner's claim in a proceeding in admiralty brought originally by

Page 314 U. S. 105

the respondent for a limitation of liability. The judgment was affirmed here by an equally divided court, 313 U.S. 541; subsequently, a petition for rehearing was granted, the judgment was vacated, and the case was restored to the docket for reargument, 313 U.S. 596.

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