These cases, consolidated for trial and this appeal, involve foreclosures of mechanics' liens arising out of the same construction work.
Defendant General Motors Corporation entered into a contract for construction on its land of hardening furnaces with defendant Mechanical Equipment & Service Corporation as general contractor. The latter corporation engaged Hugh Laundra Electric, Inc., plaintiff in 1 case, as subcontractor to do the electrical work on the job. It hired Hansen-Snyder Company, plaintiff in the other case, as subcontractor to do the piping work.
Neither subcontractor was paid in full. Both filed bills for foreclosure of mechanics' liens. General Motors still has on hand a sizeable balance due the general contractor. That balance intervening defendants and appellants insist should be paid
Stipulated pertinent facts are: That plaintiff Laundra Electric served its notice of intention to claim a lien more than 60, but less than 90 days after its first furnishing of labor and materials and recorded its statement and account of lien and served copy thereof on General Motors more than 60 but less than 90 days from its last furnishing of labor or materials; that plaintiff Hansen-Snyder served its notice of intention to claim a lien more than 60 and also more than 90 days after its first furnishing of labor and materials, but before the general contractor furnished its contractor's statement to the property owner, and recorded its lien and served copy thereof on General Motors more than 60 but less than 90 days after its last furnishing of labor and materials.
Both plaintiffs contracted for and began their work while the statute (CL 1948, § 570.1, as amended by PA 1958, No 213 [Stat Ann 1959 Cum Supp § 26.281]), still required that subcontractors serve notice of intent to claim lien on property owners within 60 days of the date of first furnishing labor and material. While plaintiffs were still in process of furnishing labor and materials and within 60 days after first furnishing them PA 1960, No 75, became effective, amending the statute to extend from 60
Questions relating to validity of plaintiffs' liens and foreclosure thereof are, (1) as to both plaintiffs, whether the mentioned amendment of the mechanics' lien act extending time for serving and filing from 60 to 90 days has retrospective effect, and (2) as to plaintiff Hansen-Snyder only, whether the term "solely as to labor" in CL 1948, § 570.1, as amended by PA 1958, No 213 (Stat Ann 1959 Cum Supp § 26.281), should be interpreted to mean that a subcontractor, who has contracted to supply labor and materials and who has served 1 notice of intent to claim a lien, covering both labor and materials, but who served the same after the prescribed period of time but before the general contractor gave its contractor's statement, has a valid lien for the amount of his contract which covers labor?
Intervenors quote from 50 Am Jur, Statutes, § 478, and 50 Am Jur, Statutes, § 482, for the general proposition that absent a clearly expressed legislative intent to the contrary it is to be presumed that the legislature intended an enactment to have prospective effect only. It is to be observed, however, that this is stated therein to be especially true when giving a statute retroactive operation will interfere with an existing contract, destroy a vested right, create a new liability in connection with a past transaction, or invalidate a defense which was good when the statute was passed. A retrospective law is therein defined as one which takes away or impairs vested rights, creates a new liability, imposes a new duty or attaches a new disability in respect to transactions or considerations already past. Such is not the situation at bar. Applicable rather, is the language from the latter American Jurisprudence citation that "remedial statutes, or
In Nash v. Robinson, 226 Mich. 146, this Court, in giving a statutory amendment retroactive effect, quoted (p 150) with approval from 25 RCL, Statutes, § 38, p 792, as follows:
"A statute which furnishes a new remedy, but does not impair or affect any contractual obligations, nor disturb any vested rights, is naturally applicable to proceedings begun after its passage, though relating to acts done previously thereto."
Attention is directed to section 30 of the act (CL 1948, § 570.30 [Stat Ann 1953 Rev § 26.310]), which provides:
"This act shall not be construed to apply to any contract made or entered into at any time before this act shall take effect."
This section and provision was in the original act, PA 1891, No 179, and in effect in 1915 when this Court, in C.H. Little Co. v. L.P. Hazen Co., 185 Mich. 316, held applicable to a mechanics' lien foreclosure case brought under this statute, an amendment thereof (PA 1913, No 394
Let it be said for intervenors' invoking of the rule of statutory construction that an "amended statute is regarded as if the original statute had been repealed and the whole statute re-enacted with the amendment" (Wade v. Farrell, 270 Mich. 562; Perry v. Hogarth, 261 Mich. 526), that we have taken note of it and of their theory that, accordingly, the old section 30 "prospective only" restriction is to be deemed to have been enacted at the same time as the 1960 amendment extending from 60 to 90 days the time for serving and filing and therefore refers and applies to it. In Wade this Court said, however, that it is only the new part of the act that is considered as having been enacted at the time of the amendment.
The second question here presented, having application only to the case of plaintiff Hansen-Snyder, is whether the term "solely as to labor" as used in CL 1948, § 570.1, as amended by PA 1958, No 213, and subsequently as mentioned, during the work in progress, by PA 1960, No 75 (Stat Ann 1961 Cum Supp § 26.281), applies to a subcontractor who has furnished both labor and materials. This has to do with that plaintiff's failure to serve its notice of intent to claim lien not only within 60 days but even
"Such notice, solely as to labor, however, shall be sufficient if served at any time subsequent to said 90 days, but before the original contractor shall make out and give to the owner, part owner or lessee or his agent, a statement under oath of the number and names of every subcontractor or laborer in his employ, and of every person, firm or corporation furnishing materials, giving the amount, if anything, which is due or to become due on them, or any of them, for work done or materials furnished as required by section 4 of this act."
Intervenors say that because Hansen-Snyder furnished materials as well as labor and its notice of intent to claim lien pertained to its claim for materials as well as its claim for labor, the words "solely as to labor" exclude Hansen-Snyder from the right to serve any time after the 90-day period if done before the original contractor gives its mentioned statement to the property owner. We do not read the words "solely as to labor" as limiting the right to a subcontractor who furnished labor only and served a notice covering a claim for labor only. Rather, we take the meaning to be that the right is extended only and solely to that portion of the subcontractor's claim, set forth in his notice, which relates to or arises out of furnishing of labor.
Decrees affirmed. Costs to plaintiffs.
CARR, C.J., and KELLY, BLACK, KAVANAGH, SOURIS, SMITH, and O'HARA, JJ., concurred.