U.S. Supreme Court
The Robert W. Parsons, 191 U.S. 17 (1903)
The Robert W. Parsons
Argued March 11-12
Decided October 26, 1903
191 U.S. 17
1. Although the Erie Canal is wholly within the State of New York, it connects navigable waters and is a great highway of commerce between ports in different states and foreign countries, and is therefore a navigable water of the United States within the legitimate scope of the admiralty jurisdiction of the courts of the United States.
2. The enforcement of a lien in rem for repairs made in a port of the state to which it belongs to a canal boat engaged in traffic on the Erie Canal and the Hudson River is.wholly within the jurisdiction of the admiralty courts, and such lien cannot be enforced by any proceeding in rem in the courts of the New York.
3. The contract for making such repairs is a maritime contract, and its nature as such is not affected by the fact that the repairs were made in a dry dock or by the fact
4. That the canal boat was engaged in traffic wholly within the New York. The Belfast, 7 Wall. 624.
This was a writ of error to review a judgment of the Supreme Court of the State of New York sustaining the jurisdiction of that court to enforce a lien for repairs made by Haines to the canal boat Robert W. Parsons, which was engaged at the time in navigating the Erie Canal and Hudson River.
Defense, that the statute of the State of New York giving a lien for such repairs and providing a remedy for enforcing the same in rem is unconstitutional so far as concerns the remedy, and an infringement upon the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of the United States in admiralty and maritime causes.
A motion to vacate the attachment, issued upon the petition of Haines, upon the ground that the court had no jurisdiction, was denied, an appeal taken to the appellate division of the supreme court, where the case was argued and the order of the court below affirmed by a majority of the justices. In re Haines, 52 App.Div. 550. From the final order of the court, subsequently entered, the owner, Clara Perry, again appealed to the appellate division, where the order was affirmed, Matter of Haines, 57 N.Y.App.Div. 636, and again by the Court of Appeals. In re Haines, 168 N.Y. 586. Whereupon a writ of error was sued out from this Court. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary