Mechanics liens seem to pop up just about everywhere. While it may seem like celebrities and politicians should be able to clear up payment disputes, we have recently seen liens against Birdman, Kenya Moore, and even Justin Bieber. Infamously, Donald Trump has faced a jarring amount of liens over the years. Now, a West Virginia lien has come into play in the state’s Governor’s race. Businesses controlled by Democratic candidate Jim Justice have been hit with several liens. However, it appears the liens may be a result of miscommunication with insurers. According to the Register-Herald, Justice faces over $770K in liens, which has been regularly brought up by his opponent Bill Cole.
Much like Louisiana, West Virginia saw what many are calling a 1,000 year flood this year. After the devastating floods passed, the focus shifted to rebuilding – not unlike the Louisiana flood recovery. According to CNN the flood destroyed over 1,200 homes, meaning that construction post storm would be in high demand. As we have discussed before, the construction industry and its customers face a litany of issues when recovering from storms. It appears Justice’s companies failed to pay a Texas company, BMS-Cat Inc., for services rendered during post-storm efforts. This is not the first time that Justice has been hit with liens. Back in 2010, Justice was hit with a $1.27M lien as owner of the famous Greenbrier resort.
In Justice’s current battle, he is facing over $700K in liens against The Greenbrier, as well as $65K in liens against two other properties. The Snead Golf Course at The Greenbriar faces over $100K in liens itself. According to Greenbriar representatives, these West Virginia liens are not a result of a refusal to pay, but merely of a mixup with he insurance company. This would certainly not be the first time that insurance issues have affected lien rights.
In the wake of natural disasters, it is important to understand how construction may be affected. One of the more prevalent issues that arises is dealing with insurance. Contractors and subcontractors’ payment typically comes, at least in part, from an insurance company. These companies are overwhelmed with claims and inquiries after a natural disaster occurs, and as a result, delays happen. These delays can wreak havoc on property owners and laborers alike. Contractors and subs are put in an incredibly tough position- if they wait to file a lien because an owner hasn’t gotten an insurance check, the contractor may miss the opportunity to secure their right to payment. So even when payment has been promised, it is best practice to take the necessary steps to preserve lien rights. For homeowners, they may be owed an insurance check yet still end up with a lien on their home. These issues and more are discussed in our article about lien rights and insurance in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Mechanics liens may not seem sexy, but they sure are popping up in the news lately, along with other issues in the construction industry. Considering the construction workforce makes up a large portion of the country’s population, this is no surprise. Even politicians and celebrities cannot dodge making payments when lien laws come into play, as evidenced with Jim Justice and the others mentioned above. Whether they arise from a bona fide payment dispute or from an insurance mishap, mechanics liens are a proven tool to get you paid in the construction industry.