264 US 439 Nyanza Co v. Jahncke Dry Dock No 1

264 U.S. 439

44 S.Ct. 355

68 L.Ed. 777

NYANZA S. S. CO., Limited,

No. 307.

Argued March 6, 1924.

Decided April 7, 1924.

Mr. Richard B. Montgomery, of New Orleans, La., for appellant.

Mr. Walter Carroll, of New Orleans, La., for appellees.

Mr. Justice BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the Court.

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The owners of the steamship Nyanza filed in the federal court for Eastern Louisiana, against Jahncke Dry Dock No. 1 and the owners thereof a single libel, setting forth these four causes of action: In rem for salvage, in personam for salvage, in rem for damage from collision, and in personam for such damage. The owners appeared as claimants. Excepting to the libel, they prayed that, 'in so far as the action is either in rem or in personam for salvage and in rem for damage,' it be dismissed for want of admiralty jurisdiction. The court maintained the exception, entered a decree of dismissal precisely as prayed for, and allowed an appeal under section 238 of the Judicial Code (Comp. St. § 1215), with a certificate that 'in this decree the question of jurisdiction alone is in issue.'


The decree leaves the cause of action in personam for damage undisposed of. For this reason the appeal must be dismissed for want of jurisdiction in this court, although the objection was not taken by the appellee. This court has jurisdiction under section 238, as under others, only of writs of error or appeals from final judgments. And the judgment must be, not only in its nature final, but a complete disposition of the cause. Collins v. Miller, 252 U. S. 364, 370, 40 Sup. Ct. 347, 64 L. Ed. 616. This rule is applicable to appeals in admiralty. Bowker v. United States, 186 U. S. 135, 22 Sup. Ct. 802, 46 L. Ed. 1090; Oneida Nav. Corporation v. W. & S. Job Co., 252 U. S. 251, 40 Sup. Ct. 357, 64 L. Ed. 697. There is nothing to the contrary in Withenbury v. United States, 5 Wall. 819, 18 L. Ed. 613, or in The Pesaro, 255 U. S. 216, 217, 41 Sup. Ct. 308, 65 L. Ed. 592. Counsel suggested that the dismissal of this premature appeal might somehow release the dry dock, to libelant's prejudice. It obviously cannot have that effect.