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Christy v. Nabholz Supply Co.

Supreme Court of Arkansas (Division II)
Feb 22, 1977
546 S.W.2d 425 (Ark. 1977)

Summary

In Christy v. Nabholz Supply Co., 261 Ark. 127, 546 S.W.2d 425 (1977), we held that a laborers lien must be filed within the statutory time and the fact that the contractor was bankrupt was irrelevant to the application of the lien law.

Summary of this case from Gipson Crane Rental v. Tyson Foods

Opinion

No. 76-265

Opinion delivered February 22, 1977

1. APPEAL ERROR — QUESTION OF FACT — EVIDENCE, PREPONDERANCE OF. — The Supreme Court will not disturb findings of a chancellor on appeal regarding a fact question unless the findings are against the preponderance of the evidence. 2. LABORERS' LIEN LAW- STRICT CONSTRUCTION — ASSIGNMENT OF LIEN, WHEN NECESSARY. — The Arkansas lien statute is strictly construed because it is an extraordinary remedy not available to every merchant or worker, and a supplier of material which from time to time sent its laborers to the job site to perform construction work was not entitled to a laborer's lien where the laborers filed no liens and did not assign their liens to the supplier. [Ark. Stat. Ann. 51-601 (Repl. 1971).] 3. LABOR — NONPAYMENT FOR — REMEDY. — Although a supplier of materials which has some of its laborers perform construction work on a job is not entitled to a laborer's lien against the owners of the property, it is not without a remedy since it has a right to proceed against the company or individual who authorized the work. 4. MATERIALMEN'S LABORERS' LIEN LAW — APPLICATION — BANKRUPTCY OF CONSTRICTION COMPANY IRRELEVANT. — The fact that the construction company which authorized the supplier to furnish labor on a job is bankrupt is irrelevant to the application of the materialmen's and laborers' lien law.

Appeal from Faulkner Chancery Court, Richard Mobley, Chancellor; affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part.

Clark, McNeil Watson, for appellants.

Brazil Roberts, for appellees.


The Chancery Court of Faulkner County found that Nabholz Supply Company, Inc. was entitled to a labor and materialmen's lien judgment for $3,435.98 against a house and property owned by Charles A. Christy' and his wife. The general contractor, jack Harmon Construction Company, Inc., subsequently adjudged bankrupt, authorized the labor and material furnished by Nabholz and did not pay the account in full. Another contractor, . Johnie Mode, an excavation contractor, was allowed a lien against the Christy property for $320.00.

Christy appeals and alleges five errors: (1) Nabholz should not have been allowed a lien for labor charges; (2) Nabholz did not prove the amount charged for labor; (3) The chancellor failed to recognize the "electrical contract" and the remainder of an open account, maintained by Nabholz, as two separate claims; (4) The improper finding by the chancellor that the electrical contract and the open account were a continuing charge extended the time for filing liens; and (5) The lower court improperly allowed the Mode lien claim.

All of these allegations of error, except the first one, are without merit because they involve a question of fact. We will not disturb the findings of a chancellor on appeal regarding a fact question unless the findings are against the preponderance of the evidence. Porter v. Ark. Western Gas, 252 Ark. 958, 482 S.W.2d 598 (1972). The chancellor's findings were not against the preponderance of the evidence on these Issues.

We disagree with the finding of the trial court allowing Nabholz, a supplier of material, to have a lien for labor. Nabholz did not have a fixed-sum contract for any part of this job. It supplied materials to the job, and from time to time sent its laborers to the job to perform construction work. There were no liens filed by Nabholz' laborers. The Arkansas lien statute is strictly construed because it is an extraordinary remedy not available to every merchant or worker. Ark. Stat. Ann. 51-601 (Repl. 1971). Scott v. LeGrande, 225 Ark. 1022, 287 S.W.2d 456 (1956). We have held that a laborer can assign his right to a lien, but there was no assignment in this case. Wyatt Lumber Supply Co. v. Hansen, 201 Ark. 534, 147 S.W.2d 366 (1940). Nabholz is not without a remedy, because it has a right to proceed against the company or individual who authorized the charges, in this case Harmon Construction Company. The fact that Harmon is bankrupt is, of course, irrelevant to the application of the materialmen and laborers lien law.

It cannot be, exactly determined from the record what portion of the judgment granted to Nabholz is labor and labor-related employer expenses, such as social security payments. Therefore, on remand the trial court will determine what the labor and labor-related expenses are and deduct them from the lien judgment granted in this case. In other respects, the Nabholz judgment is affirmed.

We affirm the trial court's judgment for johnie Mode. The issue was credibility of the parties and the chancellor found for Mode.

Affirmed in part. Reversed and remanded in part.

We agree. HARRIS, C.J., and FOGLEMAN and ROY, JJ.


Summaries of

Christy v. Nabholz Supply Co.

Supreme Court of Arkansas (Division II)
Feb 22, 1977
546 S.W.2d 425 (Ark. 1977)

In Christy v. Nabholz Supply Co., 261 Ark. 127, 546 S.W.2d 425 (1977), we held that a laborers lien must be filed within the statutory time and the fact that the contractor was bankrupt was irrelevant to the application of the lien law.

Summary of this case from Gipson Crane Rental v. Tyson Foods
Case details for

Christy v. Nabholz Supply Co.

Case Details

Full title:CHARLES A. CHRISTY et ux v. NABHOLZ SUPPLY COMPANY, Inc. et al

Court:Supreme Court of Arkansas (Division II)

Date published: Feb 22, 1977

Citations

546 S.W.2d 425 (Ark. 1977)
546 S.W.2d 425

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