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Wilson v. Robert A. Stretch Inc.

Decided: February 14, 1957.

MICHAEL WILSON, TRADING AS WILSON'S HAULING, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROBERT A. STRETCH, INC., A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, CITY OF ATLANTIC CITY, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, LOUIS OTTAVI AND JASPER L. COLE, A CO-PARTNERSHIP, TRADING AS OTTAVI & COLE, AND WALTER C. MURPHY, DEFENDANTS



Haneman, J.s.c.

Haneman

This matter concerns itself with an alleged municipal mechanics lien.

The facts in connection herewith are as follows: On or about March 18, 1955 the defendant Robert A. Stretch, Inc. entered into a contract with the City of Atlantic City

to construct certain drains on the beachfront in said municipality. The defendants Louis Ottavi and Jasper L. Cole, a partnership, were subcontractors. On or about April 13, 1955 the plaintiff rented to the said Ottavi and Cole a front end loader with one cubic yard bucket and blade, together with one grease gun and one volume gun, for a rental of $900 per month, which said equipment was used by the lessees for two months and 5/22 of the workdays of the month of June 1955. The total rental which became due for the equipment was $2,004.55. There was paid on account of said rental the sum of $900, leaving a balance of $1,104.55. On July 19, 1956 plaintiff filed notice of mechanics' lien claim with the Comptroller of the City of Atlantic City.

The work of Robert A. Stretch, Inc., as called for under its contract, was completed on June 15, 1956 and accepted by resolution of the City Commissioners of the City of Atlantic City on June 21, 1956. There are presently more than sufficient funds in the hands of the City of Atlantic City to satisfy the lien here claimed.

The sole question here involved is whether the plaintiff is entitled to a municipal mechanics' lien under N.J.S. 2 A:44-128.

Any person contracting with a public agency for the construction of public buildings or other public works or improvements is given by statute three forms of security for the payment of the value of labor performed or materials furnished in connection with such contract.

One such form of security is provided by N.J.S. 2 A:44-128, commonly known as the "Municipal Mechanics' Lien Act." This statute reads, in part, as follows:

"Any person who, as laborer, mechanic, materialman, merchant or trader, or subcontractor, in pursuance of or conformity with the terms of any contract for any public improvement made between any person and a public agency as defined in section 2 A:44-126 of this title and authorized by law to make contracts for the making of public improvements, performs any labor or furnishes any materials, including the furnishing of oil, gasoline or lubricants and vehicle use , toward the performance or completion of any such contract, shall, on complying with the provisions of sections 2 A:44-132 and

2 A:44-133 of this title, have a lien for the value of the labor or materials, or both, upon the moneys due or to grow due under the contract and in the control of the public agency, to the full value of the claim or demand * * *." (Italics supplied)

Under this statute a person who performs labor or furnishes materials, including those items specifically enumerated, is entitled to a mechanics' lien upon compliance with the terms of the statute. A lien thus obtained attaches to funds appropriated for the payment of such public work and still in the hands of the public agency. Johnson v. Fred ...


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