A Bronx Probate Lawyer said that, this is a suit by an administratrix to recover damages for the death of her former husband, a deckhand on a tugboat. The suit is against the owner of the tug, Bronx Towing Co., under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.A. § 688 and against the City of New York under the New York Death Statute, Decedent Estate Law, § 130 et seq. During the litigation the action against the tug was settled with the approval of the Surrogate. But in view of cross claims between tugboat and city, the nature of the tug’s liability is open.
A Bronx Estate Lawyer said that, Bronx Towing, under a contract with the city was engaged in towing scows for the Department of Sanitation; loaded or unloaded, from one point to another in the harbor. At the time of the mishap it had towed two scows abreast of each other from Flushing to a dock at East 91st Street. There were no scow men on board the scows. The handling of tug and tow and its tying up at 91st Street was entirely in the hands of the tugboat captain and the deckhand; there were no others on deck. On the arrival of the tow at 91st Street plaintiff tied up the onshore scow to the dock; no city employee was there to do this, although there should have been. Shortly thereafter when he was on the offshore scow the tugboat captain noticed that the tow was drifting. He called this to his attention and he tried to reach the inshore tow. He attempted to span the space between the two scows, jumped across, landed on the second scow, slipped on debris on the deck and fell into the water. He was crushed between the two scows and his death followed several hours later.
The contract between Bronx and the city called upon the city to supply a scow man for each scow to accompany the scow from place to place, assisting in its navigation, in the handling of lines. If there had been a scow man on each of the scows, a scow man would have tied up the tow to the dock. One or the other would have looked to see whether the lines were properly secured; he would not have been called upon to do this work.