As with most states, Georgia is very strict in its interpretation and enforcement of its mechanics’ lien statute. Nevertheless, courts are still faced with interpretations of basic issues, such as which parties should be named in the claim of lien.
In Robertson v. Ridge Environmental, LLC, the petitioners argued that the trial court had erred by enforcing a mechanics’ lien when a subcontractor named only the property owner on the lien, but not the contractor for whom work was actually performed. As stated in O.C.G.A. § 44-14-361.1, the claim of lien shall be in substance as follows:
A.B., a mechanic, contractor, subcontractor, materialman, … (as the case may be) claims a lien in the amount of (specify the amount claimed) on the house, factory, mill, machinery, or railroad (as the case may be) and the premises or real estate on which it is erected or built, of C.D. (describing the houses, premises, real estate, or railroad), for satisfaction of a claim which became due on (specify the date the claim was due, which is the same as the last date the labor, services, or materials were supplied to the premises) for building, repairing, improving, or furnishing material (or whatever the claim may be).
The appellate court held that the plain language of the statute does not require the contractor’s name to be included in the claim of lien. However, if the plaintiff attaches the claim of lien to the pleadings, the statements in the claim become factual allegations, requiring the plaintiff to file suit within one year to collect the debt against that entity in order to perfect the claim of lien. In this case, however, the language of the claim of lien did not allege that the contractor is the debtor. Therefore, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision to hold the claim of lien valid.
This case is a good practice pointer to those filing claims of lien. In making such a claim of lien, the filer should be careful to make accurate statements about to whom work was performed or should just include more general statements naming the interested party but not stating to whom the debt is owed.
Robertson v. Ridge Environmental, LLC, 2013 WL 203292 (Ga. Ct. App.)(Jan. 18, 2013).