Photo of inside of chicken processing plant with "Problem Projects: Pennsylvania" label

The Tyson Corporation is facing a $6.4 million lien foreclosure on the Pottsville, Pennsylvania distribution center for their Hillshire brand subsidiary. This lien comes after another lien filed against Tyson’s new poultry processing facility in Humboldt, Tennessee, as well as a lawsuit over alleged COVID-19 safety negligence in two Iowa facilities.

Contractors in this article
Primus Builders, Inc.
Primus Builders, Inc.
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Primus Builders is the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Hillshire, who hired Primus in June 2017 for construction work, labor, and materials amounting to nearly $48 million. This work was to help build a 164,000 square ft addition to their distribution center in Pottsville.

The project was estimated to be completed in 17 months. Primus filed their mechanics lien in May 2020, with the addition being completed shortly beforehand. No specific details of the specific incidents or amounts owed in the lien were in the court documents filed last month, May 2022. 

The distribution center had become a focus for Tyson and Hillshire because of the improvements to the area’s I-81 corridor, and the necessity to more easily deliver their products to customers in the Northeast. Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf applauded Tyson’s decision to invest $59.7 million into the Pottsville community.

Gray Construction, based out of Tennessee, also filed a mechanics lien for $3.4 million after alleging failure of payment for similar contractor services as well as various delays on the project. Winter conditions had forced Gray to take on additional expenses that they argue Tyson is responsible for since they hired another subcontractor whose work interfered with Gray’s. Gray not only filed a mechanics lien, but also claimed a violation of Tennessee’s prompt payment laws.

According to construction attorney Alex Benarroche, this could be an indicator that talks have broken down between them and Tyson as this is a fairly aggressive step to take in legal negotiations. 

Alex Benarroche
Alex Benarroche
9 years experience
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To file a mechanics lien in Pennsylvania, you must include many pieces of information on the claim as well as make sure it’s sent to the various parties involved in the claim. Anyone who has done business with the property owner or contractor can file a lien. Additionally, in Pennsylvania, an action to enforce a mechanics lien — as Primus is taking — must be initiated within two years of the date of filing.

Learn more Pennsylvania Mechanics Liens: Everything to Know to Get Paid Fast

One small mistake in the filing process can hurt your chances of getting your rights met, so it’s essential that all your details are exactly right when preparing a mechanics lien. Primus Builders’ notice listed the property owner, lien claimant information, and the hiring party, among many other details. 

These two lien actions from Gray and Primus Builders also come at a bad time for Tyson — just after lawsuits filed regarding COVID-19 response claims in two Tyson plants in Iowa. Before President Trump issued an order regarding business should proceed at such plants, over 1,000 workers out of 2,800 at one plant had contracted COVID-19, with some cases being fatal. 

Contractors and subcontractors like Primus Builders could be on the hook for many millions of dollars in material and labor costs. Primus listed $16 million in costs for labor, as well as $10.5 in material costs.