Thompson v. Lawson
347 U.S. 334 (1954)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Thompson v. Lawson, 347 U.S. 334 (1954)

Thompson v. Lawson

No. 352

Argued March 9, 1954

Decided April 5, 1954

347 U.S. 334

Syllabus

Otis and Julia Thompson were married in 1921, and lived together as husband and wife until 1925, when Otis deserted her. They were never divorced, but they never lived together again, and he never contributed anything to her support or that of their two children, nor did she ever seek to have him do so. Otis "married" another woman in 1929. In 1940, Julia "married" another man, and thereafter lived and held herself out as the latter's wife. She was divorced from him in 1949. Shortly before Otis' death, he asked Julia to "take him back," but she refused, having no intention of ever again living with him and resuming the relationship of husband and wife.

Held: at the time of Otis' death in 1951, Julia was not his "widow" within the meaning of the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Act, 33 U.S. C. § 902 (16), and was not entitled under the Act to compensation for his death. Pp. 347 U. S. 335-337.

(a) Since, at the time of the decedent's death, Julia was not living apart from him "by reason of his desertion," she was not his "widow" within the scope of the provision. P. 347 U. S. 336.

(b) By her purported remarriage, Julia severed the bond which was the basis of her right to claim a death benefit as the decedent's statutory dependent. P. 347 U. S. 337.

205 F.2d 527 affirmed.

Page 347 U. S. 335

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