Liability for Losses At Sea: A Case Growing Out of the Atlantic Wreck in 1873.
In the suit of Freeman D. Marckwald against the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, (Limited) which was begun on Monday before Judge Westbrook and a jury in Supreme Court, Circuit, Part II, the plaintiff yesterday rested his case. The customary motion to dismiss the complaint was made, and the court in denying it said: "Where a ship is run ashore on an island within a hundred feed of the main land, and the passenger is exposed to the perils of being drawned and the pain and suffering caused by the waves and wind, these facts -- being so unusual and so out of the ordinary course of things -- make it a prima facie case of negligence, and call upon the defendants to show that they, in fact, did exercise the utmost care and caution." The defense was then begun.
The suit in question is brought by Marckwald, who was one of the passengers on board the ill-fated steamship Atlantic, which was lost at Marr's Head in the early part of 1873. Marckwald asks $5,000 damages, occasioned by the loss of his baggage and by his detention, and the consequent injury to his business. The defense is that the vessel was duly equipped for the voyage, the company guilty of no geglegence, and that the company had proceeded under the statute limiting the liability of ship-owners, and had distributed the procceds of the vessel, her cargo, and freight among the respective climants; and, morevover, that the company had been duly discharged from further liability by the United States District Court for this district. Raymond & Corson appear for the plaintiff; Josephy H. Choate and Everett P. Wheeler for the defendants.
December 1, 1875 The New York Times