Varner v. New Hampshire Savings Bank,
240 U.S. 617 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Varner v. New Hampshire Savings Bank, 240 U.S. 617 (1916)

Varner v. New Hampshire Savings Bank

No. 264, 265, 266

Argued March 8, 9, 1916

Decided April 3, 1916

240 U.S. 617




The essential question in this case being one of fact, and notwithstanding the different conclusions reached by the courts below, this Court, after consideration thereof, holds that the evidence sustains the conclusion of the circuit court of appeals that there was no such commencement of building as would give the mechanics' liens priority over the mortgages on the property within the meaning of the Kansas statute.

216 F. 721 affirmed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 240 U. S. 619

MR. JUSTICE McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a contest for priority between creditors of a bankrupt. Appellees claim under mortgages upon certain real estate in Wichita, alleged to have been recorded before building operations on the property were commenced. Appellants maintain construction began prior to recordation, and that they are secured by preferred mechanics' liens created by the Kansas statute. Disagreeing with the district court, but in accord with the referee's opinion, the circuit court of appeals (216 F. 721) held that no "such work as amounted to the commencement of the building within the meaning of the Kansas statute" was performed prior to the time when the mortgages were placed on record, and "that what was done was but a mere pretense at the commencement of a building, done to defeat bona fide prior liens." And it accordingly adjudged the mortgage creditors entitled to priority.

The essential question presented is one of fact, and there is sharp dispute in the testimony. Substantial difficulties are disclosed, but, after considering the evidence, we think it sustains the conclusions reached by the circuit court of appeals, and the judgment entered there is accordingly affirmed.

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