Martin v. West,
222 U.S. 191 (1911)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Martin v. West, 222 U.S. 191 (1911)

Martin v. West

No. 33

Argued November 2, 1911

Decided December 4, 1911

222 U.S. 191


Whether a state statute providing remedies for damages to property within the state includes those to specified classes of property is for the state court to determine, and this Court accepts the construction so given. The Winnebago, 205 U. S. 354.

Whether a tort be maritime or nonmaritime must be determined by the character and locality of the injured thing at the time the tort was committed, and subsequent facts as to location furnish no criterion. Johnson v. Chicago & Pacific Elevator Co., 119 U. S. 388.

Where a vessel, by its own fault, collides with and injures a bridge which is essentially a land structure and which is maintained and used as an aid to commerce on land, the tort is nonmaritime.

The remedy for a nonmaritime tort provided by the state statute

Page 222 U. S. 192

can be pursued in the state court against the vessel committing it even though the statute gives a lien on the vessel.

When the interruption of interstate commerce by reason of the enforcement of a state statute otherwise constitutional is incidental only, it will not render the statute unconstitutional under the commerce clause of the Constitution.

A state statute which gives a lien upon all vessels, whether domestic or foreign and whether engaged in interstate or intrastate commerce, for injuries committed to persons an property within the state and providing that the lien for nonmaritime torts be enforced in the state courts and which is not in conflict with any act of Congress, does not offend the commerce clause of the Constitution because it incidentally affects the use of a vessel engaged in interstate commerce, and so held as to § 5953 and 5954 of the Code of the Washington.

51 Wash. 85 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction and constitutionality of certain statutes of the Washington, are stated in the opinion.

Page 222 U. S. 195

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