The Fairbanks - 76 U.S. 420 (1869)
U.S. Supreme Court
The Fairbanks, 76 U.S. 9 Wall. 420 420 (1869)
76 U.S. (9 Wall.) 420
Direct and positive oral testimony on a libel for collision between a steamer and a brig, going to show that the brig kept properly on her course, at least until the collision became inevitable, will not be controlled by the fact that the shape of the wound on the steamer tended to show that the brig could not have been at the instant of collision on such course, but must have changed it, it being possible enough that the shape of the wound was produced by a change in the brig's course made in the last moment to avoid a collision rendered in truth unavoidable by the steamer's erroneous maneuvers near the same time.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York in which court the owners of the brig Santiago filed a libel against the steamer Fairbanks to recover damages sustained by the brig in a collision with the steamer.
The collision occurred in a fair, mild night of June. The weight of testimony from witnesses went to show that the brig had properly kept on her course, which was about north by east, and that the steamer, which was running about south by west, had not properly avoided her. Opposed to which was a fact, testified to by some witnesses, and which seemed to inspection to be true, viz., that the steamer had been struck in the collision by a square blow, indicative of the fact that the approach of the brig was at right angles.
The district court decreed in favor of the brig. The circuit court on appeal reversed the decree.