This matter came on to be heard by the court on motions brought by both plaintiff and defendant.
Judgment by default was originally entered in favor of the plaintiff on July 10, 1952, on a mechanic's lien claim. The complaint was filed and copies of the summons and complaint were duly served upon the defendant, Joseph Creedon, on June 17, 1952, on which date the said defendant was both builder and owner of the subject properties.
The plaintiff herein alleged in the complaint that it had supplied certain materials to the defendant, and that the defendant was both owner and builder of the described lands, and that $5,077.80 was unpaid.
Subsequent to the entry of the default judgment by the clerk of this court under Rule 3:55-2(a), the defendant Creedon instituted a proceeding under chapter XI of the
Bankruptcy Act. In the course of the same proceeding it was argued on behalf of Creedon that the default judgment entered in this court was a general judgment against him and not a special judgment against the lands. The ruling by the referee on this question was that the parties should seek an adjudication in the court in which the judgment was entered. In pursuance of this ruling counsel for both parties made motions before this court.
Defendant's motion requests this court to permit the defendant to vacate the judgment and permit him to file an answer setting forth certain defenses to the mechanic's lien claim action. Defendant claims that there were statutory requirements which the plaintiff failed to meet and that they constituted defects. The motion asks further that this court declare that judgment heretofore entered be a general judgment and not a special judgment.
Plaintiff, on its motion, seeks to have the judgment embrace the lands and buildings owned by the defendant as well as against the defendant personally; and asks further that the judgment be amended so as to specifically include the subject property.
The basic questions to be answered are whether or not this court had jurisdiction over the res as well as the person, and whether or not, if the court does have jurisdiction over both, should both be liable for the debt.
Jurisdiction in this matter is governed by N.J.S. 2 A:44-104 which states:
"* * * and in all cases, judgment against the owner, shall be specially for the debt, to be made of the building and ...