Publication Title

Rutgers Law Journal

Document Type



A century ago the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in The Osceola [189 U.S. 158 (1903)], announcing four legal propositions that controlled personal injury claims by seamen at the time. On the 100th anniversary of the Court's decision, the four admiralty law professors contributing to this symposium take the opportunity to critically examine the Court's renowned decision, Congress' responses to the decision, and the effect of both The Osceola's four propositions and the responsive legislation on the remedies available to injured maritime workers in the 21st century.

In the first of the three articles that follow, Professor Steven Friedell mines the archival record behind this important decision to reveal numerous factual aspects of the case that were, until now, largely overlooked or misstated by the official reports. Professor Joel Goldstein then scrutinizes the reasoning and support for each of the case's famous four propositions, noting the Court's comparative law approach, the effect of the four propositions on uniformity in maritime law and also their summary, even elliptical, phraseology. In the third article, Dean Thomas Galligan takes aim at the fourth of The Osceola's propositions, revealing its illogic and its failure to promote the exercise of due care by ship masters and fellow servants. Dean Galligan demonstrates why those who believe the Jones Act rendered The Osceola irrelevant to a contemporary maritime personal injury claim should reconsider.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.