The Edith,
94 U.S. 518 (1876)

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U.S. Supreme Court

The Edith, 94 U.S. 518 (1876)

The Edith

94 U.S. 518


1. Under the maritime law, there is no lien upon a vessel for materials furnished and work done in repairing her at her home port.

2. A creditor, claiming the benefit of the provisions of the statute of New York, passed April 24, 1862, which purport to give such a lien must, whether they be invalid or not -- a point which the Court deems it unnecessary in this case to decide -- take it subject to all the conditions which they impose, and he loses it if it be not enforced within the time prescribed. Where a

Page 94 U. S. 519

seizure has been seasonably made, a bond in conformity to them, when executed and delivered to him by the owner, is a substitute for the lien, and works a discharge of the vessel.

3. The district court can marshal the fund in its registry only between lienholders and owners.

In July, 1870, Buckman & Co., having done work and furnished materials amounting to $3,597.37 in repairing the Edith, while she was lying in navigable waters in her home port of New York, claimed a lien on the ship for materials and repairs under an Act of the State of New York entitled "An Act to provide for the collection of demands against ships and vessels," passed April 24, 1862. Acts of 1862, p. 456. The requisite notice was filed the twenty-seventh day of July, 1870, a few days after the vessel had left that port. Sometime after her return, the precise period not appearing, proceedings were instituted by the firm and an attachment was issued to the sheriff of the City and County of New York, who, after seizing her, discharged her on a satisfactory bond for the claim having been given on behalf of the owner. On the first day of April, 1871, she was libeled in the District Court of the United States, sitting in admiralty, and sold under a decree rendered on the 8th of the following month. After satisfying the decree and subsequent costs, there remained $31,176.82 in the registry of the court. On the 17th of the latter month, the firm filed their petition in that court praying that so much of the fund as was necessary be applied to the payment of the amount so due them, which they claimed was, at the time it accrued, a lien on the Edith, she being a domestic vessel belonging to the port of New York. At the time of filing the petition, a suit by the firm on the bond, which had been given to release her from the attachment, was pending in the state court.

The petition was resisted by Sedgwick, the assignee in bankruptcy of the owner of the Edith, and by Tyler. To the latter more than the amount of the fund was then due from the owner, who had executed a mortgage therefor on three-fourths of the vessel Jan. 11, 1870. The instrument was recorded the same day in the New York custom house, and

Page 94 U. S. 520

a copy of it filed in the office of the Register of the City and County of New York. There was also a prior mortgage on one-half of the vessel.

The district court decided that Buckman & Co. had not a lien on the ship, nor any title to such fund as between them and the assignee in bankruptcy and the mortgagees.

The petition of Buckman & Co. was dismissed; and they appealed to the circuit court of the United states for that district, where a decree of affirmance was passed. They then appealed to this court.

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