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Scott G Wolfe JR

Scott Wolfe’s Answers

242 total


  • We are owed money from a contractor whom we did work for,he is now filing a chapter 7 and we need advice on how we can proceed.

    We provided a service as a subcontractor and now the contractor is claiming he was paid and is filing a chapter 7. How do we recover our money? Is there any steps we can take to get paid?

    Scott’s Answer

    You can take part in the bankruptcy process and make a claim, and you should. However, that will not be fast, and you're not likely to recover a significant amount of the debt. The other possibility is to utilize your mechanics lien rights. It's possible that lien rights will enable you to recover from other parties associated on the project who are not in bankruptcy.

    However, you'll have to meet the lien requirements in the state where the project is located. That appears to be New Jersey. You can find some resources and FAQs on New Jersey's mechanics lien laws here:
    http://www.zlien.com/mechanics-lien/new-jersey-lien-law-faqs/

    Also, you can learn more about bankruptcy and mechanics lien laws, and how to use lien laws to collect in the face of bankruptcies from this resource:
    http://www.zlien.com/articles/the-indispensable-guide-to-mechanics-liens-in-bankruptcy/

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  • Can I file a mechanic's lien against property in Arapahoe County Colorado or do I have to give a 10-day notice

    I have a customer that will not pay in the home is for sale and closing soon I want to be sure I get paid

    Scott’s Answer

    You can refer to these resources online that are helpful in understanding the Colorado Mechanics Lien requirements...as you'll see, it's pretty clear that you'll need to send the 10-day notice of intent to lien, which is a strict requirement in Colorado:
    http://www.zlien.com/mechanics-lien/colorado-lien-law-faqs/

    Good luck.

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  • Is the general contractor required by law to provide a list of the names of all the suppliers and subcontractors to the owner?

    I am a general contractor in ohio. I always run into a situation where owners of a project, residential or commercial request a list of all the suppliers and subcontractors who worked on their project. Do they have a legal right to this request? ...

    Scott’s Answer

    In many states, owners and general contractors have more specific rights to this information. Many states, for example, enable the owner (or the GC like yourself), to request an "affidavit" from subcontractors. When this request is made, the law requires the subcontractors reply within a short period -- usually 10-14 days -- and identify all subcontractors and suppliers who they are working with. The purpose of these statues are to protect owners and general contractors from surprise liens. Failing to produce the affidavit carries penalties, including the possible loss of lien rights.

    No such affidavit requirement exists in Ohio.

    However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

    1) You have a contract with the owner, and that may provide for some obligations to identify these parties

    2) In Ohio, the ability for the subcontractor or supplier to file a mechanics lien depends on whether they have delivered preliminary notice to the owner. This notice exists to provide owners with identification of which suppliers and subs are working on their projects.

    It's a really, really good practice to be very transparent about all of this. The more that everyone knows, the less surprise. And the more transparent you are, the more trust you'll build with your customers and subs.

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  • Can we put a lien on his house or the building we worked on?

    Are company supplied and installed materials. But along the way there was a lot of changes From the contractor. He owes us $25,000.00 still to date

    Scott’s Answer

    Generally speaking, anyone who furnishes labor and/or materials to a construction project in the United States can file a mechanics lien if they are unpaid. The "mechanics lien" goes by many names, including construction lien, claim of lien, notice of lien, and more. It is available in every state subject to a variety of rules, including in the state of New Jersey.

    Your question does not specify the type of project that this is -- i.e. commercial, residential, federal, or state. It is important to know the difference because the rules in New Jersey are very different depending on the job tight. Residential liens are particularly complicated in New Jersey.

    Below are links to 3 articles that may be helpful to you.

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  • Should I put a lien or wait to get paid

    Worked for a guy hanging drywall and was owed $3,688 he paid us $2,000 and still owes us 1,688. Its been a month pass due. he said he is going to pay us when the job is done but I scared he will just run off and not pay. I do not have a contract b...

    Scott’s Answer

    Lien. Here are FAQs on Mississippi lien laws to help you in the event you decide to move forward.
    http://www.zlien.com/mechanics-lien/mississippi-lien-law-faqs/

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  • Is a public stop notice claim considered 'filed' with public entity when it is sent or when received for California project?

    Need to know if a public stop notice claim is considered 'filed' when it is sent or when it is received for a project in California

    Scott’s Answer

    I agree with my colleagues responses here. The law is not explicit on whether bond claim and stop notice deadlines are satisfied at the time of mailing or delivery (for public works). You may find the below link helpful for other frequently asked questions and information on bond claim / stop notice rules for California public works projects.

    With all of that said, it may be instructive to look at the private works laws in California. Those laws require that party send a preliminary notice to protect their lien rights. There is more explicit instruction here. For these notices they are considered delivered when sent and not necessarily when received. There is likely a very good argument that the same rule would apply for bond claims and stop notices on public projects.

    http://www.zlien.com/bond-claims/california-bond-claim-faqs/

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  • Can a Contractor put a lien on your home for non-payment due to faultywork even though you have given him every opportunity?

    We do not have a contract or agreement with Contractor but paid him insurance payment. He did not correct all of our issues with workmanship and installation and is demanding more money. He is threatening to put a lien on our home.

    Scott’s Answer

    If a contractor does work on a property, the general rule is that they can file a mechanics lien against the property for payment. However, two things may be relevant for you.

    1. If they didn't send a required notice, they may have lost their rights. Not every contractor and situation requires a notice, so it's important to determine whether a notice was in fact required. If notices were required and they were not sent, you should have a fairly easy time getting the lien removed and possibly even recovering attorney fees.

    2. If they didn't do the work or - for whatever reason - aren't owed the money they claim, you can dispute the lien amount in court. It will not be as easy to get the lien removed under these circumstances, but may eventually succeed.

    Good luck.

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  • What costs can I charge on a Mechanics Lien?

    I did a bathroom remodel with 3 signed change orders. The client has refused to pay progress payments as agreed. I'm sending a Notice of Mechanics Lien with a copy of the Mechanics Lien. The amount for work performed is 1429. The balance rema...

    Scott’s Answer

    In general, California law does not allow a mechanics lien to include so-called ancillary amounts. This means interest, attorney fees, costs, etc. In California, the mechanics lien is specifically "limited to the reasonable value of the work provided...or the price agreed to (less payment already received)." In deciding on the dollar amount to include in your lien keep this standard in mind. Was there a price agreed to? If so, file your lien for the agreed price minus any payments received. Period. Full stop.

    NOW, that doesn't mean you aren't entitled to all that other stuff. If you go to court to enforce the lien (and win) the court may award you a bunch of other stuff, including: attorney fees, costs, interest, damages, lost profits, etc. However, save that for your court argument and don't put it within the lien itself.

    Below are some helpful articles on this question. Good luck.

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  • How do i file a mechanic's lien.

    A company sub some work out to me, and i am having an issue with getting payment. What can i do to get payment?

    Scott’s Answer

    You need help filing a mechanics lien, and so you are probably looking at pursuing one of three choices.

    First, you can put it on your shoulders to learn a lot about the lien laws in Georgia and figure out how to do this yourself. This can be a bit daunting, as suggested by some of the other answers in this thread. Nevertheless, it is certainly not impossible. The links below contain some information about Georgia's lien laws, which can give you a place to start.

    Second, you can utilize an app to get the lien filed. Just like you can file your taxes through TurboTax by answering a Wizard and having your return automatically generated and filed, there are apps that can file your mechanics lien by having you answer a Wizard and getting the lien automatically generated and filed.

    Third, you can hire an attorney. An attorney will review your situation and circumstance in detail, and be able to advise you on what to do, and would also be able to personally and manually prepare your lien claim.

    Each of these three options has merit, and how you decide to proceed will depend on your budget for getting the lien filed, and the special attention that your claim may need.

    Good luck.

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  • If I was forced to sign a lien release under duress what are my chances to argue it is invalid?

    I started a construction project with a client who strung me out for three-weeks without my down-payment, therefore I had funded their project out of pocket for that amount of time. Finally they agreed to pay me for the first billing but only if ...

    Scott’s Answer

    What a bummer. The construction industry has such a terrible culture where some GCs or owners will try to use money to leverage contractors into unfair and unjust positions.

    The below answers are all too focused on the aspect of "duress" and what legally qualifies as duress. While their technical evaluation of the duress question is correct, they miss the point of the question. The question is whether you have any resource to get around this waiver, and the answer is that you might.

    Since Lien Waivers are so frequently abused, most states have some protections in place within the law to prevent contractors and owners from abusing the waiver process. These protections are around to protect the situation you have here exactly.

    If your project is in Kentucky, then Kentucky law will apply. This will require an evaluation of the Kentucky statutes, the lien waiver in question, and your specific facts. Hopefully, this answer can point you in the right direction.

    Kentucky's Fairness in Construction Act can be found in KRS §371.400 et seq. You can read the whole thing at the link below. You'll specifically want to pay attention to §371.405(2)(b), which provides that "provision[s] that purport to waive, release, or extinguish [mechanic’s lien rights], with the exception of partial waivers of lien rights provided by the contractor or subcontractor for progress payments” void and unenforceable as against public policy.

    You may have an argument that the lien waiver in question violates this public policy interest.

    Good luck.

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