I hope you enjoyed my recent webinar on payment techniques for contractors in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. If you missed it, you can access the recording here. Below are some of the highlights:

Payment Techniques

Traditional payment techniques for contractors include asking for payment in writing with a list of your claims. Such letters can serve as important documentation to establish that your claim was asserted and that you complied with contractual notice provisions. If you later end up in court, it can show that you attempted to work things out.

For additional leverage, mechanic’s liens are a great tool to increase bargaining power during negotiations on private jobs. For federal and state jobs, you must file a bond claim (mechanic’s liens generally are not available on such jobs). Washington, DC and Maryland also have prompt pay statutes that can provide additional leverage on private jobs because they allow the contractor to recover attorney’s fees and interest on unpaid amounts.


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Pleaseman filling agreement between owner and contractor join us tomorrow, 11/4, for Shawn Farrell‘s presentation “Construction Disputes: Lessons Learned” at the Carpenters’ Company of City and County of Philadelphia’s Master Builder Dialogues.

Shawn Farrell has over 20 years of experience litigating construction disputes, and will share the lessons he learned to demonstrate how an effective project management team can identify

When it comes to the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law (Lien Statute), the Pennsylvania legislature was quite active in 2014.  In July, Governor Corbett signed into law certain changes to the Lien Statute affecting residential lien rights and lien priority.  We previously covered these changes.

Change Ahead Sign

On October 14, 2014, Governor Corbett signed into law additional

Rolled Blueprints and gavel of justice

On July 9, 2014, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed a bill (S.B. 145) into law that amends the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law of 1963 (the “Lien Law”). The new law took effect on September 8, 2014 and affects subcontractor lien rights on residential construction projects as well as the order of lien priority between mechanics’

As most contractors recall, the Pennsylvania Lien Law was modified in 2007 to reinstate lien rights.  We have previously reported on proposed changes to the lien law and lien rights preservation.  Additional proposed changes to the lien law, if passed, would have widespread impact across the industry.  Pending Pennsylvania House Bill 473 seeks to

By: Jason A. Copley and Lori Wisniewski Azzara 

On January 6, 2012, the Pennsylvania Superior Court, in a 7-2 decision, significantly expanded the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law’s definition of a “subcontractor” in Bricklayers of Western Pennsylvania Combined Funds, Inc. v. Scott’s Development Co., 2012 Pa. Super 4. In this case, the trustees of employee

Last week, Pennsylvania’s House Labor and Industry Committee considered PA House Bill 1602  (HB 1602). Construction industry experts, including Cohen Seglias’ own Jason A. Copley, critiqued the bill in testimony presented at a televised public hearing. If approved, HB 1602 would require additional notice provisions and reduce a claimant’s time to file a lien

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently enacted legislation revising the New Jersey Construction Lien Law, which was last amended in 1994. The amendments are effective paid.jpgimmediately, and include changes to critical timing, definitional, and enforcement requirements.

Please note that the changes affect only commercial and private projects and have no bearing on the Municipal Mechanics Lien Law, which pertains to only government projects.

The changes to New Jersey’s construction lien law include, but are not limited to, the following:

The Time You Have for Filing Residential Construction Liens Has Changed

Residential construction claimants must file a Notice of Unpaid Balance (NUB) and Right to File Lien within 60 days from when the claimant last performed work or supplied materials on the project. Within 10 days after filing the NUB, the claimant is required to serve a demand for arbitration for the purpose of determining the amount of the lien claim. This time may only be extended upon consent of the parties and arbitrator. Within 10 days after the arbitrator’s determination, but within 120 days from when the claimant last performed work or supplied materials, the claimant must record the lien claim.

Multiple Liens Against the Same Residential Project Are Addressed

Parties aggrieved by lien claims relating to the same construction project may, under the new law, be joined in a single construction lien arbitration proceeding in order to avoid inconsistent arbitration awards. The new law also requires that, if possible, the same arbitrator determine all such claims – even if joinder is not possible. In addition, the arbitrator must consider the outcome of all previous proceedings relating to the same construction project in rendering her determination.

You Must Use New Statutory Forms for the NUB, Lien Claim, and Amended Lien Claim

These new forms clarify the manner in which a claim is calculated. In addition, standard forms of affidavit to summarily discharge a lien claim and standard forms for the bond used to discharge a construction lien claim are provided.


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Smart contractors now more than ever must be vigilant about preserving their rights to mechanics’ liens. Lien rights provide another avenue of protection if and when payment is not made for work performed. Contractors should beware however, when performing work or supplying materials on Pennsylvania projects that cover multiple plots of land.

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