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I'm a web designer who didn't get paid from a client. Can I file a mechanics lien?

Ambler, PA |

I'm a web designer. I did a agency web design project and they won't pay me. I did get a deposit to start the project, which covered materials etc... can I file a mechanics lien, or is there any way I can get paid.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey or Federal law applies, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, a lien is a recording that you are owed money, and that when a piece of property that you have liened is sold, the money made on the property is first paid to you to satisfy the debt. I've never heard of a lien on a website, and you can only lien the property with which or on which you worked, so you cannot lien their other property. If you could lien the website, it is unlikely to be useful as it is unlikely to be sold.

You would be better off filing a breach of contract claim in court if they will not pay. You should speak with an attorney to determine your best course of action.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or telephone number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
The Ezold Law Firm, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Suite 501
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585
Cezold@Ezoldlaw.com
www.ezoldlaw.com

Answered 8 months ago. Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified. /Christopher E. Ezold/ The Ezold Law Firm, P.C. One Belmont Avenue, Suite 501 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 (610) 660-5585 Cezold@Ezoldlaw.com www.ezoldlaw.com

Posted

Hi,

I never heard of such a thing and frankly do not believe that would be possible (but I cannot conclude that it is the case).

As my colleague noted, even if it were possible this would likely have little to value or you given the context. A website is simply not the same as valuable piece of equipment or a physical structure.

You should consult a lawyer in private and discuss all your options. Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consultation.

Best regards,
Frank
Natoli-Lapin, LLC
(see Disclaimer)

The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the areas of business law and intellectual property to entrepreneurs, small-to-medium size businesses, independent inventors and artists across the nation and abroad. Feel free to call for a free phone consultation; your inquiries are always welcome: CONTACT: 866-871-8655 Support@LanternLegal.com DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.

Asker

Posted

I think it may be time to change some laws to update the new world. Too many people are not getting paid, and even if there was a judgement, that in itself has zero guarantee payment. A website is a tangible tool with value and a considerable asset to a business, just like a copy machine, a desk, a wall, or a bathroom only infinitely more powerful. The old standard of weights and measures are outdated. A mechanics lien should apply to anyone without prejudice. I would argue that it is connected to that dwelling and therefore subject to a mechanics lien. If the homeowner decides to rip out the contractors work, it is his business and should have no bearing on the work performed. Thanks to everyone for My 2 cents...

Frank A. Natoli

Frank A. Natoli

Posted

These cases come up in my practice practically every week. There are very smart ways to handle it such as using milestones and working carefully in those stages. Most web dev will not release all the files until the work has been paid for (this is not always the proper move, but they still do that). I would suggest you reconsider your business habits and hire a lawyer to create a thoughtful master service agreement that will protect your interests. Regards to liens I think you misunderstand something here, that will only serve as a notice if that asset was sold. A successful business could keep their site forever what good would that do you? They can also simply create another better one. What would be the substance of the website that is actually securtized? All the best, FN

Asker

Posted

Thank you Mr. Natoli. I appreciate the insight and wisdom. Sometimes it's hard for non law specialists to understand, and I do appreciate the feedback. A master agreement is definitely the go... The files were worked developed on their server. Thank you Brad

Frank A. Natoli

Frank A. Natoli

Posted

No problem Brad; happy to help.

Posted

You would not lien a web site. You would sue for breach of contract.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.

Posted

I agree that the best course of action is a contract suit, but even if you were to get a judgment the real problem is collecting. You should speak with an attorney about the claim and the collection strategy. Often, if a claim is properly raised, a plaintiff in your situation, with a lawyer, may able to negotiate a satisfactory settlement.

This answer is based on general legal principles only and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. This answer is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the formation of a lawyer-client relationship. Any reader of this answer should not make decisions based upon in without first directly consulting with an attorney in person.

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