258 U.S. 96
NEW BEDFORD DRY DOCK CO.
Argued Jan. 27, 1922.
Decided Feb. 27, 1922.
Messrs. George R. Farnum and Lee M. Friedman, both of Boston, Mass., for appellant.
Mr. George L. Dillaway, of Boston, Mass., for appellee.[ The Jack- O-Lantern 258 U.S. 96 (1922) ]
Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Claiming a lien under Act of Congress approved June 23, 1910 (chapter 373, 36 Stat. 604; Comp. St. 7783-7787),1 and seeking to recover for work done and supplies furnished in pursuance of a contract with the owner of the Jack-O-Lantern, appellant libeled the vessel. The libel was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. If the agreement between the parties is maritime, there was jurisdiction, otherwise there was none.
The facts are not in dispute. They were stated as follows by the District Court:
Upon these facts it held that the contract was not one for repairs or supplies, but for original construction, and therefore nonmaritime within the doctrine of Thames Towboat Co. v. The Francis McDonald, 254 U.S. 242 , 41 Sup. Ct. 65 :
In support of this conclusion McMaster v. One Dredge (D. C.) 95 Fed. 832, and The Dredge A (D. C.) 217 Fed. 617, 629, 630, were cited.
It is not always easy to determine what constitutes repairs as opposed to original construction. A contract for the former is maritime; if for the latter, it is not. We are not disposed to enlarge the compass of the rule approved in Thames Towboat Co. v. The Francis McDonald, under which contracts for the construction of entirely new ships are classed as nonmaritime, or to apply it to agreements of uncertain intendment- reasonable doubts concerning the latter should be resolved in favor of the admiralty jurisdiction. Nor do we think that in [258 U.S. 96, 100] cases like the instant one any refined distinction should be made between reconstruction and repairs-the latter word as used in the statute has a broad meaning.
As pointed out in Piedmont Coal Co. v. Seaboard Fisheries Co., 254 U.S. 1, 11 , 12 S., 41 Sup. Ct. 1, 4 (65 L. Ed. 97), the Act of June 23, 1910, makes 'no change in the general principles of the [present] law of maritime liens, but merely substitutes a single statute for the conflicting state statutes.'
This court has not undertaken and will not now essay to announce rigid definitions of repairs and new construction; but we do not accept the suggestion that the two things can be accurately differentiated by consideration of the ultimate use to which the vessel is to be devoted. The view expressed by Judge Hughes in United States v. The Grace Meade, Fed. Cas. No. 15,243, is both sound and helpful:
There was jurisdiction in the court below to determine and enforce the rights of the parties. Its judgment to the contrary must be reversed and the cause remanded for further proceedings in conformity with this opinion.
[ Footnote 1 ] Section 1. 'Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that any person furnishing repairs, supplies, or other necessaries, including the use of dry dock or marine railway, to a vessel, whether foreign or domestic, upon the order of the owner or owners of such vessel, or of a person by him or them authorized, shall have a maritime lien on the vessel, which may be enforced by a proceeding in rem, and it shall not be necessary to allege or prove that credit was given to the vessel.'