Federal Court in New Hampshire Holds That Subcontractor May Pursue a Mechanics’ Lien Despite Signing Written Lien Waivers and Releases Because General Contractor Had Actual Notice of Subcontractor’s Intent to Claim at Time Waivers Were Executed

Fraser Eng’g Co. v. IPS-Integrated Project Servs., LLC, 2018 US Dist. LEXIS 51392 (D.N.H. March 27, 2018)

IPS-Integrated Project Services, LLC (“IPS”) was the general contractor on a project to design and construct a manufacturing facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. IPS subcontracted with Fraser Engineering Company (“Fraser”) for the project’s mechanical and plumbing scope of work. Shortly after award, IPS notified Fraser that it may be directed to accelerate its work. In response, Fraser put IPS on notice that acceleration would result in labor inefficiencies for which it expected to be reimbursed.  Thereafter, IPS directed Fraser to accelerate and Fraser complied by using extra overtime over the next several months. During that time, the parties communicated numerous times about Fraser’s claim for labor inefficiencies.

Under its subcontract with IPS, Fraser was required to submit lien waivers with each of its payment applications. According to the court, the waivers at issue “do not merely release lien rights, but also ‘all claims, demands, or causes of action . . . which [Fraser] has, or might under any present or future law, assert against [IPS] or [the owner] relating to the Partial Payment and/or the labor services, materials or equipment for which the partial payment has been made.’” During its work, Fraser submitted eight such waivers. Continue reading “Federal Court in New Hampshire Holds That Subcontractor May Pursue a Mechanics’ Lien Despite Signing Written Lien Waivers and Releases Because General Contractor Had Actual Notice of Subcontractor’s Intent to Claim at Time Waivers Were Executed”

Federal Court Holds That Under Louisiana Law, Actual Notice of Cause of Delay Satisfies Contractual Notice Requirement Despite Failure to Strictly Comply With the Notice Provision

Parkcrest Builders, LLC v. Hous. Auth. of New Orleans, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125012 (E.D. La. August 8, 2017)

The Housing Authority of New Orleans (“the Authority”) contracted with Parkcrest Builders, LLC (“Parkcrest”) to construct a public housing project.  The Project was delayed and the Authority terminated Parkcrest prior to completion, and entered into a Takeover Agreement with Parkcrest’s Surety.  The Surety retained Parkcrest to complete the work, and later notified the Authority that it had achieved substantial completion.  The Authority asserted deficient and incomplete items remained on the project, which the Surety refused to complete.  The Authority then solicited bids for the remaining work, and awarded the work to a replacement contractor.

Parkcrest sued the Authority for breach of contract and also asserted that any delays on the Project were excusable and, therefore, not subject to liquidated damages.  The Authority counterclaimed against Parkcrest for added costs to complete the project.  The Surety intervened, also seeking a ruling that all delays were excusable.  The Authority then counterclaimed against the Surety for completion costs. Continue reading “Federal Court Holds That Under Louisiana Law, Actual Notice of Cause of Delay Satisfies Contractual Notice Requirement Despite Failure to Strictly Comply With the Notice Provision”

Actual Notice Exception to Pre-Lien Notice Requirement of Nevada Lien Statute Does Not Apply to Architect’s Offsite Work When No Onsite Work Has Been Performed Even Though Owner Knew That Architect Was Performing Work for the Project

Iliescu v. Steppan, No. 68346, 2017 Nev. LEXIS 38, (Nevada Supreme Court, May 25, 2017)

Appellants Iliescu entered into a Land Purchase Agreement to sell four unimproved parcels in downtown Reno, Nevada to Consolidated Pacific Development (“CPD”) for development of a high-rise, mixed-use project to be known as Wingfield Towers, which agreement was subsequently assigned to BSC Investments, LLC (“BSC”).  BSC subsequently hired Mark Steppan (“Steppan”), to provide design services for the Wingfield Towers.  Financing was never obtained for the project and the escrow never closed on the sale of appellants’ property.  In addition, since BSC did not pay Steppan for his services, Steppan recorded a mechanic’s lien against appellants’ property.  However, Steppan did not provide appellants with a pre-lien notice.

In this case, the Nevada Supreme Court was asked to determine whether the actual notice exception for pre-lien notices should be extended to offsite work and services performed by an architect for a prospective buyer of the property.  NRS 108.245(1) requires a mechanic’s lien claimant, other than one who performs only labor, to deliver a written notice to the owner of the property of the right to lien after they first perform work on or provide material to a project.  However, substantial compliance with this requirements is met if the property owner: (1) has actual notice of the construction on the property and (2) knows the lien claimant’s identity.  Continue reading “Actual Notice Exception to Pre-Lien Notice Requirement of Nevada Lien Statute Does Not Apply to Architect’s Offsite Work When No Onsite Work Has Been Performed Even Though Owner Knew That Architect Was Performing Work for the Project”