and the court having read, heard and considered the briefs,
memoranda and oral arguments submitted by counsel in support of
their respective positions, and the court being fully advised,
the court hereby enters its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of
Law as follows:
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. This is a libel filed by N.M. Paterson and Sons, Ltd. for
damage to the steamship Torondoc of $13,000, and a cross-libel by
respondent City of Chicago against libellant for damage to the
Dearborn Street Bridge of $10,569.35.
2. The libelant, N.M. Paterson & Sons, Ltd., a corporation duly
organized under the laws of the Dominion of Canada, was at all
times material hereto, the sole owner and operator of the
3. The respondent, City of Chicago, a municipal corporation
duly organized under the laws of the State of Illinois, was at
all times material hereto, the sole owner and operator of the
Dearborn Street Bridge, a highway bridge lying within the
territory of said municipality and spanning the Chicago River.
4. The impleaded respondent, The Great Lakes Towing Company, a
corporation duly organized under the laws of the State of New
Jersey, was at all times material hereto, the sole owner and
operator of the diesel tug Oregon, engaged in harbor towing at
the Port of Chicago, Illinois.
5. The Chicago River is a tributary to Lake Michigan and is a
part of the navigable waters of the United States.
6. The Dearborn Street Bridge was erected by respondent, City
of Chicago, pursuant to the terms of a permit of the Secretary of
War of the United States, issued in 1905. The structure was
completed in 1907, and rewired in 1939 at which time the conduits
were also replaced. On November 20, 1957, the structure was a
double leaf bascule-type bridge operated by employees of the City
7. At approximately midnight of November 19-20, 1957, the
Torondoc, which had been lying at the wharf at Time Incorporated,
above the Halsted Street Bridge in the south branch of the
Chicago River, commenced a trip down the river assisted by the
tug Oregon on a bow line. The steamer, being partly loaded,
proceeded north in the south branch of the Chicago river, turned
east at the bend before reaching the Franklin-Orleans Bridge, and
proceeded easterly through a series of bridges. Its destination
was the North Pier Terminal immediately west of the Outer Drive
Bridge over the Chicago river.
8. In the course of its trip down the river, the steamship
Torondoc, assisted by the tug Oregon, passed through four
bascule-type bridges which opened to allow such passage without
incident. These were the Franklin-Orleans Street, Wells Street,
La Salle Street and Clark Street Bridges.
9. At the time of the incident giving rise to this suit, there
were in effect certain regulations as follows: (a) by the Coast
Guard under authority of 33 U.S.C.A. § 241 relating to navagation
of the Great Lakes and waters tributary thereto; (b) by the
Secretary of the Army under authority of 33 U.S.C.A. § 499
relating to the operation of drawbridges over navigable waters
and the passage of vessels under such drawbridges; and (c)
ordinances promulgated by the City of Chicago regulating
drawbridges within its jurisdiction and the passage of vessels
through waters within its jurisdiction. For convenience, many of
these regulations have been compiled in a handbook entitled
"Great Lakes Pilot," a copy of which was available to the Master
of the steamship Torondoc in the course of the trip in question.
The Master of said ship was familiar with all regulations and
ordinances governing the navigation of his ship at the time in
10. Among the regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the
Army under 33 U.S.C.A. § 499, is the following,
relating to the passage of vessels under drawbridges (33 C.F.R.
"Every owner, officer, or person in charge of any
vessel, craft or float * * * shall sound or cause to
be sounded a whistle to signal bridge tenders to open
and swing bridges, and such signal shall be three
sharp, short sounds of the whistle, to be given in
succession as quickly as possible * * *."
11. In the course of its passage under each of the four bridges
mentioned in Finding 8 above, the Torondoc made no whistle sound.
12. The Dearborn Street Bridge of respondent, City of Chicago,
is the first bridge immediately east of and approximately 400
feet from the Clark Street Bridge.
13. The tenders of the Dearborn Street Bridge had been notified
by telephone message that the Torondoc was approaching from the
west before the Torondoc had rounded the bend above the
Franklin-Orleans Street Bridge.
14. The Coast Guard regulations promulgated under the authority
of 33 U.S.C.A. § 241 provide in part (33 C.F.R. p. 104):
"(a) Lift span lights. Each lift span of every
bascule bridge shall be lighted so that the free end
of the span will be marked on each side by a green
light which shows only when the span is fully open
for the passage of a vessel and by a red light which
shows for all other positions of the lift span."
15. The Dearborn Street Bridge was equipped with such lift span
lights marking the free end of each span. Each span of the
Dearborn Street Bridge was equipped with these lights on both
east and west sides, so that they could be seen by ships
proceeding either east or west in the Chicago river. These lights
were in operation on the night of November 19-20, 1957, and were
red when the Torondoc passed through the Clark Street Bridge