This was a petition to the superior court of the county of Suffolk and state of Massachusetts, under section 17 of chapter 192 of the Public Statutes of Massachusetts (the material provisions of which are copied in the margin ), by the Atlantic Works, a corporation established by the laws of that state, and having its usual place of business at Boston, in that county, to enforce a lien upon the tugboat Glide, whose home port was Boston, for labor performed and materials furnished in repairing her at that port, under a contract between the petitioner and Jonathan Chase, one of her owners, all of whom resided in Boston, and were named in the petition.
Upon the filing of the petition, the court issued a writ commanding the sheriff to attach the vessel, and to summon her owners to answer. The vessel was attached accordingly; and her owners appeared, and moved to dismiss the petition, for want of jurisdiction, because the subject-matter was a matter of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, and therefore within the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of the United States. The court granted the motion, and dismissed the petition. The petitioner appealed to the supreme judicial court of the state, the majority of which held that the state court had jurisdiction of the proceedings under the statute, and therefore reversed the order dismissing the petition. 157 Mass. 525, 33 N. E. 163.
The respondents thereupon filed an answer, without waiving their motion to dismiss; and at the trial requested the court to rule that it had no jurisdiction, for the reason stated in that motion. But the superior court ruled that it had jurisdiction, rendered judgment for the petitioner, and ordered a sale of the vessel in accordance with the statute; and exceptions to the ruling were overruled by the supreme judicial court. 159 Mass. 60, 34 N. E. 258. The respondents sued out this writ of error, addressed to the superior court, in which the record remained.
Edward E. Blodgett, for plaintiffs in error.
Ralph W. Foster, for defendant in error.
Mr. Justice GRAY, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.
^1 Sec. 14. When by virtue of a contract, expressed or implied, with the owners of a vessel, or with the agents, contractors or sub-contractors of such owners, or with any of them, or with a person who has been employed to construct, repair or launch a vessel, or to assist therein, money is due for labor performed, materials used, or labor and materials furnished in the construction, launching or repairs of, or for constructing the launching ways for, or for provisions, stores or other articles furnished for or on account of such vessel in this commonwealth, the person to whom such money
is due shall have a lien upon the vessel, her tackle, apparel and furniture, to secure the payment of such debt, and such lien shall be preferred to all others on such vessel, except that for mariners' wages, and shall continue until the debt is satisfied.
Sec. 15. Such lien shall be dissolved unless the person claiming the same files, within four days from the time when the vessel departs from the port at which she was when the debt was contracted, in the office of the clerk of the city or town within which the vessel was at such time, a statement, subscribed and sworn to by him, or by some person in his behalf, giving a just and true account of the demand claimed to be due to him, with all just credits, and also the name of the person with whom the contract was made, the name of the owner of the vessel, if known, and the name of the vessel, or a description thereof sufficient for identification; which statement shall be recorded by such clerk in a book kept by him for that purpose, and for such recording the clerk shall receive the same fees as for recording mortgages of equal length.
Sec. 16. If the vessel is partly constructed in one place and partly in another, either place shall be deemed the port at which she was when the debt was contracted, within the meaning of this chapter; and the validity of the lien shall not be affected by any inaccuracy in the description of the vessel, if she can be recognized thereby, nor by any inaccuracy in stating the amount due for labor or materials, unless it appears that the person filing the statement has wilfully and knowingly claimed more than is due.
Sec. 17. Such lien may be enforced by petition to the superior court for the county where the vessel was at the time when the debt was contracted, or in which she is at the time of instituting proceedings. The petition may be entered in court, or filed in the clerk's office in vacation, or may be inserted in a writ of original summons with an order of attachment, and served, returned and entered like other civil actions; and the subsequent proceedings for enforcing the lien shall, except as hereinafter provided, be as prescribed in chapter one hundred and ninety-one for enforcing liens on buildings and land, so far as the provisions of said chapter are applicable. At the time of entering or filing the petition, a process of attachment against such vessel, her tackle, apparel and furniture, shall issue, and continue in force, or may be dissolved like attachments in civil cases, but such dissolution shall not dissolve the lien.
Sec. 18. The petition shall contain a brief statement of the labor, materials or work done or furnished, or of the stores, provisions or other articles furnished, and of the amount due therefor, with a description of the vessel subject to the lien, and all other material facts and circum-
stances, and shall pray that the vessel may be sold and the proceeds of the sale applied to the discharge of the demand.
Sec. 19. Any number of persons having such liens upon the same vessel may join in a petition to enforce the same: and the same proceedings shall be had in regard to the respective rights of each petitioner, and the respondent may defend as to each petitioner, in the same manner as if they had severally petitioned for their individual liens.
|This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).|