Admiralty – Exclusive Coverage by Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Act of Railway Employer’s Liability to Employee for Accident on Car Float

Respondent, a freight brakeman employed by petitioning railroad at its Jersey City yards, was injured while releasing the hand brakes on a freight car which was being pulled off a car float docked in navigable waters. He brought suit under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, alleging that his injury was caused by a faulty brake mechanism maintained in violation of the Safety Appliance Acts. The suit was dismissed in the district court on the ground that the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Act applied exclusively, because the injury occurred on navigable waters. The court of appeals reversed, holding that this act did not apply, since respondent’s employment was not maritime in nature. Held, on certiorari, such a case is within the exclusive coverage of the Harbor Workers’ Act. Four justices dissented. Pennsylvania R. Co. v. O’Rourke, 344 U.S. 334, 73 S.Ct. 302 (1953).