Isbrandtsen Co., Inc. v. Johnson
343 U.S. 779 (1952)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Isbrandtsen Co., Inc. v. Johnson, 343 U.S. 779 (1952)

Isbrandtsen Co., Inc. v. Johnson

No. 493

Argued April 23, 1952

Decided June 9, 1952

343 U.S. 779

Syllabus

In an admiralty proceeding by a seaman against his employer to recover wages earned on a merchant vessel of United States registry, the employer may not set off against the seaman's wages its expenditures for the medical care and hospitalization of another member of the crew necessitated by injuries unjustifiably inflicted on him by the seaman during the voyage on which the wages were earned. Pp. 343 U. S. 780-789.

(a) Congress has preempted the area relating to deductions and set-offs based on derelictions of duty as against a seaman's claim to his wages and, in effect, has excluded all of them except those which it has listed affirmatively. Pp. 343 U. S. 781-789.

(b) Assuming that this seaman's unjustified attack upon another member of the crew amounted to a breach of general discipline, it hardly amounted to "willful disobedience to any lawful command at sea" within the meaning of R.S. § 4596, Fourth. P. 343 U. S. 788.

(c) Assuming that it caused expense to his employer, it hardly amounted to "willfully damaging the vessel" or "any of the stores or cargo" within the meaning of R.S. § 4596, Seventh. P. 343 U. S. 788.

190 F.2d 991, affirmed.

In an admiralty proceeding by a seaman against his employer to recover wages earned on a merchant vessel of United States registry, the District Court disallowed his employer's counterclaim. 91 F.Supp. 872. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 190 F.2d 991. This Court granted certiorari. 342 U.S. 940. Affirmed, p. 343 U. S. 789.

Page 343 U. S. 780

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