Appeal from the Circuit Court for Carroll County; Boylan, Jr., C. J.
Henderson, Prescott, Horney, Marbury and Sybert, JJ. Marbury, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.
The appellant, plaintiff below, appeals from an order of the Circuit Court for Carroll County sustaining without leave to amend the demurrer of defendant, Strawbridge Home for Boys, Inc. (Strawbridge), to plaintiff's bill of complaint to enforce a mechanics' lien or to impose an equitable lien on
defendant's property for work performed and materials used to construct a swimming pool, fence, concrete deck, and other appurtenant structures. The facts, well pleaded in the bill of complaint, and exhibits filed therewith, which are admitted as true for the purposes of this demurrer, are as follows:
The appellant, (Freeform), is a contractor engaged in the building of swimming pools, as well as other buildings and structures required in connection therewith, such as bathhouses, concrete walkways, fences, filter systems, and filter houses. Strawbridge was the record owner of legal title to a tract of land consisting of about 318 acres, on which Freeform seeks to enforce a lien.
Prior to March 28, 1960, Strawbridge entered into a contract of sale by which Carrollton Farms, Inc. (Farms) purchased that tract of land, and subsequently Farms entered into a contract with Carrollton Golf and Country Club, Inc. (Country Club) by which Country Club purchased part of that land. With the knowledge and acquiescence of Strawbridge, Farms and Country Club thereafter advertised and held themselves out to be the legal owners of the tract and its developers as a country club, although Farms and Country Club were only the equitable owners of the tract.
In March of that year, with the knowledge, acquiescence, and participation of Strawbridge, Country Club, representing that it was the legal owner of the tract, commenced negotiations with Freeform for the construction of a swimming pool and other structures on the tract, as the result of which a contract was executed on March 28, 1960. By it Freeform agreed with Country Club, as owner of the tract, to build a pool, fence, and concrete deck for a total sum of $43,000.
In May, 1960, Freeform, in reliance upon the ownership representations made by Country Club and Farms, began to build the swimming pool. From then until active construction ceased about May 31, 1960, Freeform expended its money, labor, and materials for that purpose, including overhead and profit pursuant to the contract, to its damage in the amount of $15,862.25 in excess of the $8,000 paid Freeform by Country Club on account of the contract. On August 15, 1960,
Country Club and Farms defaulted on the contract to purchase the tract.
On November 16, 1960, Freeform recorded a mechanics' lien, for work done and materials and equipment furnished on said tract of land at the instance and request of Country Club and Farms with Strawbridge's knowledge and acquiescence, but the lien has not been paid, and Freeform claims it is entitled to a decree for the enforcement thereof.
In its opinion the lower court stated as its only reason for sustaining the demurrer that a mechanics' lien exists "only by virtue of the statute" and there can be no lien for anything that does not fall within the statutory provision, and further, that in its opinion a ...