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Am I sunk because I dint serve the 20day preliminary notice and cant take him to court now or am I lost and he doesnt have to pa

Pomona, CA |

I am an electrical contractor who signed a contract with a general contractor but didnt serve him a 20 day preliminary notice. In October 7 I sent a signed change order wherein I state in order for me to instll the 100 amp panel this weekend I need 1000.00. This past weekend he was finally ready for the panel which I installed he has given me 1000.00 instead of the 5,000.00 per our original contract dated 9/5/08. The general contractor says I changed the contract and doesnt want to pay I didnt can this be fixed he doesnt want to pay the balance to me?

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Attorney answers 2


A twenty day preliminary lien notice is necessary in the event you want to record a mechanic's lien or file a stop notice. You can still file a lawsuit directly against the contractor for breach of your contract. I suggest that you consider filing a small claims court action over what you believe is owed to you. A good book that will help you with the process is "Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court" by Nolo Press. You can get the book at

Good luck!


The failure to file a 20 Day Preliminary Notice probably eliminates your lien rights against the owner, unless you can prove that he/she had actual knowedge of your subcontractor releationship. Youcan still sue the GC without a 20 day Preliminary Notice.

Attention: This response is based upon general legal theories and may or may not specifically address issues that affect your individual legal matter or situation. It should not be relied upon outside of the jurisdiction(s) in which the attorney is licensed to practice as each state has different laws. Each situation is fact specific and requires comprehensive legal evaluation following a thorough consultation and review of all the facts and evidence available. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship between the asking and answering parties.

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