Hassall v. Wilcox
Annotate this Case
130 U.S. 493 (1889)
U.S. Supreme Court
Hassall v. Wilcox, 130 U.S. 493 (1889)
Hassall v. Wilcox
Argued April 2-3, 1889
Decided April 22, 1889
130 U.S. 493
APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED
STATES FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
A statute of Texas passed in 1879 gave a lien for wages to mechanics and laborers on a railroad, prior to all other liens, and authorized its enforcement in a suit by a judgment for the sale of the railroad, and provided that it should not be necessary to make other lienholders defendants, but that they might intervene and become parties. It did not provide for any notice by publication. In 1882, a railroad in Texas was mortgaged to secure bonds. In 1884, a creditor of the railroad company holding such labor claims, in a suit against it alone in a court of the state, obtained a judgment for his claim and lien and for the sale of the railroad. In a suit afterwards brought by a bondholder in the circuit court of the United States to have the rights of the creditors of the company ascertained and a receiver appointed, it was referred to a master to report on the priority of claims. The creditor by judgment presented his claim; it was objected to by the bondholder as fraudulent and embracing amounts not covered by the statutory lien. The master reported that the claim included amounts which were not a lien as well as amounts which were, but did not separate them; that the claim was a valid one against the company, but that it was not a lien entitled to priority. The
court, on exceptions, awarded priority of lien to the claim, for the full amount of the judgment.
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