McCrea v. United States,
294 U.S. 23 (1935)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McCrea v. United States, 294 U.S. 23 (1935)

McCrea v. United States

No. 249

Argued December 14, 1934

Decided January 7, 1935

294 U.S. 23


1. A seaman is not entitled to the extra wages and other relief afforded by R.S. § 4583, unless his claim was upheld, and his discharge granted, by a consul or consular agent. P. 294 U. S. 27.

2. To entitle a seaman to double wages under R.S., § 4529, upon the ground that payment of wages due, as therein provided, was refused or neglected "without sufficient cause," the delay of payment must have been in some sense arbitrary, willful, or unreasonable. P. 294 U. S. 30.

3. Upon the demand of a seaman for his discharge, payment of wages due, a month's additional pay, and employment on another vessel homeward bound, the master of a vessel, busily engaged about his duties on arrival in a foreign port and ignorant of the legal basis

Page 294 U. S. 24

for the demand, requested the seaman to meet him at the consular office shortly after noon of the following day; the seaman called early, was advised by the consul that he was not entitled to his discharge, and failed to keep the appointment with the master; he left the vessel later without having communicated with the master, and gave no forwarding address. Held, the failure of the master to make payment of wages as provided by R.S., § 4529 was not "without sufficient cause." P. 294 U. S. 28.

4. The double liability under § 4529 arises from failure, without sufficient cause, to make payment of what was due, during the period prescribed by the statute. If the failure was justifiable, then (in this case because of the seaman's own conduct), the double liability does not arise afterwards because of a subsequent refusal to pay the wages due. P. 294 U. S. 31.

5. A decree entered by the District Court on rehearing becomes the final decree in the cause, and supersedes the earlier one. P. 294 U. S. 32.

70 F.2d 632 affirmed.

Certiorari to review a judgment affirming a judgment of the District Court entered on rehearing in a suit against the United States under the Suits in Admiralty Act. See 3 F.Supp. 184, 187.

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