Contractors denied payment on a job sometimes have the remedy of a mechanic's lien available as a possible avenue for payment. When filed properly, a mechanic's lien often attaches to the property and, at some point, likely will be satisfied, which allows a contractor denied payment for work on the property to receive payment for that work.
Before a recent court ruling, it was unclear in Pennsylvania if a contractor performing site work to property (or similar work) could file a mechanic's lien against that property. Courts and lawyers debated whether these contractors performed the type of work covered by the mechanic's lien law.
A recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Superior Court clarifies the law, providing that an excavator or site contractor may place a mechanic's lien on a property. You can review the opinion here. The case makes clear that contractors have lien rights so long as they perform work in preparation for construction on the property. If construction is abandoned after they complete their work, their lien rights remain. Stating the obvious, this is a significant opinion for contractors' rights.