The mechanic's lien is a tool created by statute which allows a person or entity who provides labor or materials to improve real property the right to establish a lien against the real property to secure payment for the work performed. Because the mechanic's lien is a creature of statute, its complex and sometimes counter-intuitive rules and provisions must be strictly followed. Failure to comply with all of the provisions of the mechanic's lien statute will oftentimes result in the dismissal of the mechanic's lien case.
When presented with a potential mechanic's lien case, a number of items need to be analyzed. The contractual relationship between the claimant and the owner will dictate whether a notice of intent to lien is required or whether the mechanic's lien case can be filed without the notice of intent. This is important because of the specific deadlines established in the mechanic's lien statute for filing a notice of intent to file a lien and for commencing the mechanic's lien case. Because of these deadlines, the last date that labor or materials was supplied to the project is also critical. In addition, the mechanic's lien law does not apply equally to all construction. Because of these limitations, it is important to know whether the construction is new construction or a renovation. If it is a renovation, it is critical to know the value of the property and whether the renovation is improving the value of the property by the statutorily mandated minimum percentage. It is also critical to know whether the "owner", as that term is defined by the statute, is the owner of the property or is a tenant on the property. If the "owner" is a tenant, there are additional statutorily mandated requirements which must be met. Once these preliminary issues are resolved, the statute requires the notice of intent to file lien and the petition to establish the lien contain certain facts and allegations. The failure to allege the statutorily mandated facts and allegations will result in the dismissal of the complaint.
Because the mechanic's lien statute is so strictly construed by the courts, it is imperative that competent legal counsel be consulted with a potential mechanic's lien case sooner rather than later.
The attorneys at Harrison Law Group have significant experience in analyzing mechanic's lien cases and in filing notices of intent and mechanic's lien petitions. For example:
We represented the electrical subcontractor on a 1.6 million dollar mechanics' lien on a new high-rise hotel located in Baltimore's Inner Harbor East re-development, and we represented the scaffolding contractor on an extensive mechanic's lien claim involving multiple contractors on a oil refinery project in the Parish of St. Charles, Louisiana.
We represented a masonry contractor and a roofing contractor on separate mechanic's lien cases on a new condominium building which was being constructed in midtown Baltimore, and the electrical contractor on a luxury condominium development which was recently completed in the Federal Hill area of the Inner Harbor.
We represented an electrical contractor on a mechanic's lien case against a new multi-building scientific and medical research facility operated by the NIH, and numerous general contractors and subcontractors on commercial, industrial, office, and retail projects.