Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Expansion of Situs?

Wallace (SW) v. Atlantic Container Service, 43 BRBS 118

Stephen Wallace was chassis mechanic at a facility at Fargo Street which was approximately one mile outside of Conley Terminal in Boston Harbor.  The properties adjoining the location were not devoted primarily to maritime commerce

The Board concluded that the facility had both a functional and geographic relationship with the Terminal sufficient to establish it as an “adjoining area.”

The Board relied upon the ALJ’s determination that the facility was used exclusively to repair chassis which were used to transport shipping containers at the Terminal and that this established that the facility had a functional nexus with the loading process performed at the Terminal sufficient to bring it within the scope of Section 3(a).

The Board ruled that the Terminal and facility existed in a common geographic area even though they were separate and relied heavily on the fact that they both had a geographic and functional nexus with the same body of water. Therefore, the Fargo Street facility qualified as an “adjoining area” under Section 3(a).

The Board ruled that Wallace’s injury occurred on a covered situs  - another expansion of the SITUS test.