TIP | Limitation of Liability Hearings | Claim of Sarah F. Crafton

Limitation of Liability Hearings

CLAIM OF SARAH F. CRAFTON

 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.

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IN THE MATTER
- of -
The Petition of the Oceanic
Steam Navigation Company, Limited,
as owner of the steamship TITANIC, for
limitation of liability.
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AMENDED CLAIM

TO THE HONORABLE THE JUDGES OF THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, AND TO ALEXANDER GILCHRIST, JR., ESQ., the COMMISSIONER APPOINTED TO RECEIVE CLAIMS HEREIN:

The claim of SARAH F. CRAFTON, as administratrix of John B. Crafton, deceased, alleges as follows:

FOR A FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION:

FIRST: That she is a citizen of the United States of America, and of the State of Indiana, and resides in Marion County, in said State.

SECOND: That the above named petitioner is a cor­poration created, organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and at all the times hereinafter mentioned was an English registered Company operating as a common carrier of goods and passengers for hire between various ports in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and other parts of the world, including a regular line of cargo and passenger steamships operating between Southampton, England, and New York. At all the times herein mentioned, said petitioner was the owner of the steamship "Titanic" which was a British vessel hailing from the port of Liverpool, England, and duly registered as such, pursuant to the laws of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

THIRD: That said John B. Crafton lost his life upon petitioner's steamship "Titanic" at sea, on or about the 15th day of April, 1912; that said deceased took passage on the said steamship "Titanic" on the 10th day of April, 1912, at the City and Port of Southampton, England, under a contract for a valuable consideration, made with this petitioner for the safe transportation of his person and personal effects from Southampton to New York; that while on said voyage the said steamship "Titanic", through no fault of this claimant's testator, but wholly by reason of the wrongful acts, faults and negligence of the above named petitioner, its officers, agents and servants, came into collision with an iceberg on the 14th day of April, 1912, by reason of which collision the said steamship "Titanic" was sunk and claimant's testator lost his life and all his personal effects.

FOURTH: Said collision and consequent damage were not caused by any fault, neglect or want of care on the part of this claimant's testator, but were wholly caused by and through the wrongful acts, faults, negligence and want of care on the part of the petitioner, the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, Limited, in failing to make the said vessel in all respects seaworthy, and by and through the wrongful acts, faults and negligence of the petitioner and of its officers, agents and servants in the navigation of the vessel -- said wrongful acts, faults and negligence and the resulting loss and destruction of lives and property being within the privity and knowledge of the petitioner.

FIFTH: At the time of his death, as aforesaid, the said John B. Crafton, claimant's intestate, was a resident of the County of Putnam in the State of Indiana. There­after letters of administration were duly issued and granted to Sarah F. Crafton, the claimant herein, by the Probate Court of Marion County, Indiana, appointing claimant sole administratrix of the estate of said John B. Crafton, deceased, and thereupon the said Sarah F. Crafton duly qualified as such sole adminis­tratrix, and is now such sole administratrix.

SIXTH: At all the times hereinbefore mentioned it was and it now is the law of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland that an action at law is maintain­able against any person or corporation who, by wrongful act, neglect or default, shall have caused the death of any person, provided the said act, neglect or default be such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages therefor. By the said law of the said United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, every such action shall be for the benefit of the wife, husband, parent and child of the person whose death shall have been caused and it shall be brought by and in the name of the executor or the adminis­trator of the person deceased. A copy of the said law, which is known as Lord Campbell's Act, enacted in 1846 (9 and 10 Victoria, Ch. 93, amended in 27 and 28 Victoria, Ch. 95) is annexed hereto, marked "Exhibit A" and made a part hereof. The said Act, including the said amend­ment thereto, was at all the times mentioned in this claim and still is in force in the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and extended and still extends in its opera­tion to all deaths occurring on or caused by British vessels on the high seas.

SEVENTH: At the time of his death claimant's decedent left him surviving this claimant, who was his wife, and one son, Harry R. Crafton, and the present action is brought for the benefit of his said widow and son.

EIGHTH: This claimant and the said deceased, prior to his death, lived happily together as man and wife and the claimant was entirely, and the son to a very large extent, dependent upon the deceased for support, nurture and maintenance. At the time of his death said John B. Crafton was 59 years old, and was earning and receiving an income of $10,000 per year -- the greater part of which he had been accustomed to apply to the support of this claimant and his said son, Harry R. Crafton. By reason of the death of the said John B. Crafton, claimant individually, and his said son, Harry R. Crafton, were deprived of the said income and support by the said John B. Crafton, and suffered pecuniary damages in the amount of One hundred and fifty thousand ($150,000) Dollars, by reason of the said death of said John B. Crafton.

NINTH: At all the times herein mentioned there were in force as part of what is known as the Merchant Shipping Act, the following statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, namely, 57 and 58 Victoria, chapter 60, sections 503-509 (inclusive) August 25, 1894, and amendments thereof, and 63 and 64 Victoria, C. 32, sections 1 and 2 (2), August 6, 1900 -- copies of which are hereunto annexed, marked "Exhibit B" and made a part hereof. The said acts were at all the times mentioned in this claim and still are in force in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and the right of the owner of a British vessel to a limitation of liability is solely governable thereby in all cases of tort committed by an English vessel on the high seas when and in which no vessel or vessels of other nationality than British are involved. Claimant denies, upon information and belief, that the petitioner is entitled to a limitation of liability herein under any law, but avers that as the "Titanic" was a British vessel and the tort herein com­plained of was committed on the high seas, with no vessel of any nationality other than British involved, the question of petitioner's right to a limitation of liability in this Court is governable by the law of Great Britain and Ireland herein referred to and set out in Schedule "B" hereof.

FOR A SECOND SEPARATE CAUSE OF ACTION:

TENTH: Claimant repeats the allegations contained in the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Ninth articles hereof, and further alleges that claimant's testator had with him on said voyage certain baggage and valuables of the value of Six thousand six hundred ($6,600) Dollars, to wit, certain trunks, boxes, valises, clothing, jewelry and many other personal effects. Said baggage and property were totally destroyed and lost in the said collision by reason of the aforesaid negligence of this petitioner, and no part of it has ever been delivered. Said personal effects included the following articles, each of the respective value given:

One diamond stud
$3,000.00
One watch
150.00
Two hand bags
50.00
Clothing
400.00
Money
3,000.00
Total
$6,600.00

WHEREFORE, this claimant hereby makes and files her claim against the above named petitioner in the sum of One hundred fifty-six thousand, six hundred ($156,600) Dollars, and prays that the Commissioner appointed to receive claims herein will report to the Court that the said sum is due to this claimant and should be allowed to her out of any fund deposited with the Registry of the Court in this proceeding; and in the event of any deficiency in said fund, claimant prays judgment in personam against the petitioner herein for the full amount of her claim, with interest, together with the costs and disbursements of this action, and claimant further prays for such other and further relief as to the Court shall seem just.

This claim is filed without waiving any right which your claimant may have to bring action against the petitioner, Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, Limited, in any Court of law and to demand a jury trial therein, but this claim is now filed solely to preserve your claimant's rights in all Courts until the extent of such rights and the nature of the jurisdiction of this Court to pass upon them may be ultimately determined.

Sarah F. Crafton (sig.)
as administratix,
Joline, Larkin & Rathbone,
Claimant.

Joline, Larkin & Rathbone,
Proctors for Claimant,
54 Wall Street,
New York City.

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STATE OF NEW YORK, )  
  SS:
COUNTY OF NEW YORK. )  

 

LEWIS ST. (ILLEGIBLE) being duly sworn, deposes and says that he is a member of the firm of Joline, Larkin & Rathbone, Proctors for the claimant herein; that he has read the foregoing claim and knows the contents thereof, and that the same is true to the best of his knowledge, information and belief.

That the reason this claim is not made by the claimant is that she is a resident of the State of Indiana, and is not now within this District.

 

Sworn to before me this )  

:

LEWIS ST. (ILLEGIBLE)
12th day of April, 1913.)  

Russell Porter (sig.)
Notary Public
New York Co.