McMurray v. Brown,
91 U.S. 257 (1875)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McMurray v. Brown, 91 U.S. 257 (1875)

McMurray v. Brown

91 U.S. 257


Where a party furnished materials for the construction of a building, under an agreement that the owner thereof, by way of payment for them, would convey to him certain real estate at a stipulated price per foot, held that on the refusal of the owner so to convey or in lieu thereof to pay for such materials, the party is entitled to his lien, provided that in due time he gives the notice required by law.

This was an action to enforce a mechanics' lien under sec. 1 of the Act of Congress approved Feb. 2, 1859, 11 Stat. 376, which provides,

"That any person who shall hereafter, by virtue of any contract with the owner of any building or with

Page 91 U. S. 258

the agent of such owner, perform any labor upon, or furnish any materials, engine, or machinery for the construction or repairing of, such building shall, upon filing the notice prescribed in sec. 2 of this act, have a lien upon such building and the lot of ground upon which the same is situated for such labor done, or materials, engine, or machine furnished, when the amount shall exceed twenty dollars."

The second section provides

"That any person wishing to avail himself of this act, whether his claim be due or not, shall file in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia at any time after the commencement of the said building and within three months after the completion of such building or repairs, a notice of his intention to hold a lien upon the property declared by this act liable to such lien for the amount due or to become due to him, specifically setting forth the amount claimed. Upon his failure to do so, the lien shall be lost."

Mrs. McMurray, one of the defendants, was indebted to the complainant in the sum of $1,230.62 for materials furnished by him in the construction of two dwelling houses on lots belonging to her in the City of Washington under an agreement that upon the delivery of said materials, she would, in payment therefor, convey to him, at the rate of forty-five cents per square foot, certain real estate situate in said city. She subsequently refused to comply with the agreement, but promised to pay him the amount of his bill in cash.

No payment having been made, he, on the 13th of February, 1872, the houses then being uncompleted, gave the required notice of his intention to hold the property subject to his lien.

The court below rendered a decree in favor of the complainant, from which an appeal was taken to this Court.

Page 91 U. S. 259

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