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Last Friday afternoon it was business as usual in New Orleans. Sure there was a hurricane in the Atlantic (Isaac), but hell, it’s August. There are always hurricanes in the Atlantic.
Material suppliers, subcontractors, architects, general contractors, construction lawyers and all others connected to the construction profession shut their doors and got ready for the weekend – all of them presuming that it would be business as usual on Monday. It’s not, of course. Hurricane Isaac is en route and government offices all over the state are shutting down.
That includes recorder and clerk offices. Take for instance the clerk and recorder office in New Orleans, which announced on Sunday that it would be closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
What if someone’s mechanics lien deadline became due on one of these days? Does the potential claimant get penalized for procrastinating and not filing until the last minute, or will the courts allow the deadline to bump out to the next open court date?
#1) Do Not Leave This Issue To Chance – File Your Mechanics Lien Early And Be Safe
It is difficult to predict the future, and that is not expected of anyone. It is not difficult, however, to avoid waiting until the very last day to file your mechanics lien.
Lots can wrong when you wait until the last minute to file a mechanics lien claim, and the chance of the courts being closed for a holiday or disaster is just one of them. If you wait until the last day or few days to file your lien claim, you are always subjecting your claim to these possibilities.
If you are owed money file your mechanics lien. Delay will only hurt you.
#2) Courts May Be Open After A Disaster Closing, But Good Luck Getting Them To Be Efficient
Even if the law forgives a mechanics lien filed late (it may not) when a clerk or recorder unexpectedly closes, this will not be a guaranteed savior of your claim.
After a disaster populations are in disarray. Maybe a large percentage of the population had evacuated. Maybe a large percentage of the population are dealing with personal problems or damages to their property. The scenarios go on and on and on.
One thing is for certain, your mechanics lien isn’t going to be on the top of anyone’s list other than your own. As a result, it may be difficult to get all the stars to align to have your mechanics lien actually recorded on the day immediately following disaster closings. Be prepared for this by filing your mechanics lien before these potential disasters.