Duff Gordons at Titanic Limitations Hearings


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Mar 20, 2000
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Hey, all,

Can somebody please explain the intent and focus of the so-called "limitations" hearings that took place in the aftermath of Titanic?

I ask because I've been informed of late by reliable sources that the Duff Gordons may well have testified in 1913 at one of the hearings.

I personally have not found any corroborating evidence for this. To my knowledge the Duff Gordons did not file any public suit against White Star at any point. Lady Duff Gordon was also to my knowledge not in the US at all in the year 1913 so, if she and/or her husband did appear in court in connection with limitation proceedings, it must have been at the London hearings. I also suspect such an appearance, if it occured, was conducted privately.

Can someone please verify the dates of these hearings and if indeed there is any indication that the Duff Gordons were involved in some capacity?

If this info is considered sensitive for whatever reason, please feel free to contact me privately at [email protected]. I welcome all responses.

Thanks,

Randy
 

Mike Herbold

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Dec 13, 1999
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Randy:
Those New York hearings went on for quite a few years if I remember right. That's an area I'd love to see somebody research thoroughly some day. Wouldn't it be great, for example, to have each and every claim that was filed in one volume.

Eaton and Haas devote the entire chapter 19 of "Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy" to those hearings, and give some examples of some of the claims, like the Becker's, Molly Brown's, and Mrs. Cardeza's. It's fascinating to read through the detail of the things they lost.

Anybody in the New York City area with research time on their hands could have a field day with this subject. If there is somebody like that out there, after you help Randy with the Duff Gordon's please let me know about claims by California passengers. Thanks to George Behe, I've got one for our gambler friend George Brayton (Brereton), but would love to find the claims of Washington Dodge, Mrs. Walter Miller Clark, and many, many more that I'm working on. I can be reached at [email protected]
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Thanks Mike,

So then there were no hearings of the limitations case in London then?

If that is so, then I must venture that, unless the court in NY accepted a cabled/mailed affadavit from Lucy D-G (who was in London and Paris throughout 1913), she must have had no connection to the case. She might have submitted testimony privately in Oct-Nov 1912, when she returned to NY briefly on business with "Lucile's." But I've never found any press account mentioning it, although she was interviewed extensively by almost all NY papers at the time.

If she was contacted by the courts AFTER October 1914, then she would have been on hand personally to participate as she lived in American consecutively between 1914-1919.

In case the info helps, her US legal representative through 1915 was Bainbridge Colby, later Secretary of State under Pres. Wilson. Between 1915-18, Lucy D-G's attorneys included Edward Hoenig. In the 20s she was represented at home in the UK by her son-in-law, Lord Tiverton (later Lord Halsbury).

Randy
 
Mar 20, 2000
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forgot to mention that the D-Gs' attorneys in Eng. from before the time of the Titanic disaster through the late teens were those with the firm of Tweedie, including R.F. Tweedie, H.E. Duke, and Vaughan Williams, the latter two having representated the couple at the Enquiry.
 

Mike Herbold

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Randy:
According to Eaton-Haas, survivors had until February 1913 to file claims. They make an interesting note about Molly Brown's claim:
"Executed in Germany, before an American consular agent, Mrs. Brown's claim fills but a single page...."
So, one did not have to go to New York to file a claim. The hearings themselves didn't start until June 1915 and went through December.

Just a thought. Maybe the fact that the D-G's registered as Mr & Mrs Morgan & Maid complicated their legal claim. That's just a guess. I don't know whether they filed a claim or not, and whether they testified at the hearings or not.

According to E&H "a far greater number of passengers appeared and testified than had at either the Senate or Board of Trade investigation, including Mr John B., Karl Behr, W.J. Mellor, Mrs Jacques Futrelle..."

Unfortunately we don't have published documents from those hearings like we do from the Senate and British hearings. The publishing of these testimonies would undoubtedly be an incredible resource for the Titanic community.
 
D

Daniel Rosenshine

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It is interesting to note, that these hearings with their incredible historical value are so little known and published. I sure hope to get my hands on a list of those who testified and even better the depositions of the many passengers.

As far as I know, there were two like hearings, one in the US and one in England and both received their share of claims for lost property. If I understood Charles Haas correctly, not all the claims that have been filed in England have been found. If the DG's filed one, theirs might be one of them, if they had filed it privately, which is as you point out Randy, may well have been the case.

As far as I know the hearings (at least in the US) were throughout (1912?) 1913 - 1915. Many passengers testified, Behr, Newsome, Ryerson/Bowen, Harris, Rosenbaum, Ismay to name but a few.

As Charles Haas told me, not all the passengers filed claims, in fact the majority didn't, so Mike, finding some claims may be impossible as they may not exist.

Daniel.
 
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