After 12 long years of waiting – and I mean waiting – Akron Concrete Company of Ohio appears to be getting paid on a mechanics lien claim it was forced to file on a $124,000 debt, as the Ohio Appeals Court in Akron Concrete Company v. Board of Education for Medina School District affirmed a trial court judgment in the concrete company’s favor.
Why Did The Mechanics Lien Claim Took So Long?
Litigation does not have a reputation for being speedy, and this is a perfect example of that. Unfortunately for Akron Concrete Company, although they had to wait 9 years for a lawsuit to resolve itself before anyone would address their $124k debt, Akron wasn’t even a party to that litigation!
The litigation in question was between the contracting entity (Medina Board of Education) and the prime contractor, Moser Construction Company. Those two parties fought from 2001 until 2009 about how much Moser was owed on the project.
All the while Akron’s mechanics lien claim sat and waited for this dispute to work itself out.
Shouldn’t The Mechanics Lien Have Expired?
Well, that is exactly the point of the litigation decided this month.
After the case between Medina and Moser settled in 2009, and Akron was left out of the settlement, Akron filed a lawsuit against the board claiming the board should have paid their lien claim before settling with Moser.
The board then argued that the lien claim had expired because Ohio claims must be enforced within 6 years, and it was obviously a lot longer than that. Akron claimed, however, that the 6 year statute never began to run until the settlement with Moser, since that was required (determining amount due to the prime contractor) before any money was owed to Akron.
The trial and appeals court agreed with Akron, and thus, their claim against the Medina School Board was still alive and well, and they are now awarded a judgment agains the school board for payment of their claim.
This situation was made possible by a series of interesting components within the Ohio lien laws for state projects.
Lesson for Mechanics Lien Claimants in Ohio and Everywhere
Not every business can afford to wait 12 years for payment of a $124k debt, but sometimes, they won’t have the choice. Luckily, Akron was able to pull through and stay in business despite the decade-long loss, and this decision will be a nice plum at the end of a long road.
Most mechanics lien claims are paid without the need for a foreclosure action, and most are paid quickly. However, this case shows that even when a company must fight for its mechanics lien rights, and the fight takes a long time, there’s still light at the end of the rainbow.
Undisputedly, if Akron had not filed their mechanics lien claim and followed up with it, they would have not recovered this money…even if it was 12 years later.