A longshoreman, while unloading a vessel in navigable water, was
swept from the deck by the ship's hoist and precipitated upon the
wharf, where he was hurt by the fall. Held
that the cause
of action was in admiralty. P. 295 U. S.
269 Mich. 295, 257 N.W. 831, affirmed.
Certiorari, 294 U.S. 704, to review a judgment of the Supreme
Court of Michigan vacating an award of the state compensation
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE HUGHES delivered the opinion of the Court.
Petitioner, a longshoreman, was injured at Port Huron while
unloading a vessel lying in navigable water. He was about his work
on the deck of the vessel when he was struck by a swinging hoist,
lifting cargo from a hatch, and was precipitated upon the wharf. He
sought compensation under the Compensation Act of the State of
Michigan. His employer, the Port Huron Terminal Company, contended
that the accident occurred upon navigable
Page 295 U. S. 648
water, and that the state law did not apply. The defense was
overruled by the state commission in the view that the injury must
have been occasioned by petitioner's fall upon the wharf, and hence
that the claim was within the state statute, although the injury
would not have been received except for the force applied to his
person while on the vessel. The Supreme Court of the State vacated
the commission's award, holding that the federal law controlled.
269 Mich. 295, 257 N.W. 831. Because on an asserted conflict with
decisions of this Court, a writ of certiorari was granted.
We have held that the case of an employee injured upon navigable
waters while engaged in a maritime service is governed by the
maritime law. Southern Pacific Co. v. Jensen, 244 U.
; Grant Smith-Porter Ship Co. v. Rohde,
257 U. S. 469
257 U. S. 477
It is otherwise if the injury takes place on land. State
Industrial Commission v. Nordenholt Corp., 259 U.
, 259 U. S.
-273; Nogueira v. New York, N.H. & H. R.
Co., 281 U. S. 128
281 U. S. 133
In the instant case, the injury was due to the blow which
petitioner received from the swinging crane. It was that blow
received on the vessel in navigable water which gave rise to the
cause of action, and the maritime character of that cause of action
is not altered by the fact that the petitioner was thrown from the
vessel to the land.
We had the converse case before us in Smith & Son v.
Taylor, 276 U. S. 179
There, a longshoreman, employed in the unloading of a vessel at a
dock, was standing upon a stage that rested solely upon the wharf
and projected a few feet over the water to or near the vessel. He
was struck by a sling loaded with cargo, which was being lowered
over the vessel's side, and was knocked into the water, where, some
time later, he was found dead. It was urged that the suit was
solely for the death which occurred in the water, and hence that
the case was exclusively within the admiralty jurisdiction. We held
Page 295 U. S. 649
to be untenable. We said:
"The blow by the sling was what gave rise to the cause of
action. It was given and took effect while deceased was upon the
land. It was the sole, immediate, and proximate cause of his death.
The G. R. Booth, 171 U. S. 450
, 171 U. S.
. The substance and consummation of the occurrence
which gave rise to the cause of action took place on land."
p. 276 U. S. 182
If, when the blow from a swinging crane knocks a longshoreman
from the dock into the water, the cause of action arises on the
land, it must follow, upon the same reasoning, that, when he is
struck upon the vessel and the blow throws him upon the dock, the
cause of action arises on the vessel. Compare Vancouver S.S.
Co. v. Rice, 288 U. S. 445
288 U. S. 448
The decision in L'Hote v. Crowell,
286 U.S. 528, upon
which petitioner relies, is not opposed. In that case, we dealt
only with the determination of the question of the dependency of a
claimant for compensation, holding that the finding of fact by the
deputy commissioner against the claimant upon that issue should not
have been disturbed. The writ of certiorari was limited to that
question, 54 F.2d 212; 285 U.S. 533. The judgment is