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Roeder v. Alcoa Steamship Co.

decided: February 3, 1970.

ROBERT ROEDER
v.
ALCOA STEAMSHIP CO., INC., APPELLANT



Hastie, Chief Judge, and Van Dusen and Adams, Circuit Judges.

Author: Van Dusen

Opinion OF THE COURT

VAN DUSEN, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from the District Court's order of January 3, 1969, granting summary judgment to a seaman suing for wrongfully withheld wages.

The District Court's order was based on the facts alleged in the defendant's affidavit.*fn1 Plaintiff Robert Roeder was employed as a seaman aboard defendant's SS Alcoa Master, having joined the crew on February 24, 1965, for a voyage pursuant to foreign articles. On July 2, 1965, Roeder and fellow seaman Colson were painting the deck. Due to extremely offensive conduct of Roeder,*fn2 Colson understandably told the boatswain that he did not wish to continue working with Roeder, and immediately retired to his room. The Chief Mate, being informed of the incident, ordered Colson back to work. He "instructed both men to stay out of each other's way and to do nothing further that would disrupt the harmony then existing. The Chief Mate specifically ordered Roeder to leave Colson alone and to do nothing that would cause any further dispute or trouble." Within minutes after this order, the two men "had an altercation" in which "blows were struck by both parties;" the fight was "precipitated" by Roeder. The Chief Mate, upon learning of the fight, reported the incident and attending circumstances to the vessel's Master, who logged both men "for engaging in a fight in willful disobedience of the Chief Mate's order." The log entry as to Roeder read:

"July 4, 1965. Robert M. Roeder is logged one day's pay in the amount of $13.85. Fighting aboard Ship P.M. July 2nd.

A. Ohren

Master

"KE Graham [Chief Mate]

Affg

"July 4, 1965. The above entry read and copy given Robert Roeder and his reply is as follows:

NO REPLY

A. Ohren

Mast ...


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