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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Are there legal implications for a materials supplier if they submit a Mechanic's Lien without having forwarded the Prelim. This is for a residential job.

Are there legal implications for a materials supplier if they submit a Mechanic's Lien without having forwarded the Prelim. This is for a residential job.

OklahomaPreliminary NoticeRight to Lien

One of our employees submitted the Intent Notice instead of forwarding the Prelim. Now we are coming up on the Mechanics Lien due date. I'll forward the Mechanics but I really don't want to get us in legal trouble if we know that this is in any way illegal. Thanks!

1 reply

Feb 15, 2019
Good question, and I'm sorry to hear you're having payment trouble on this job. Everyone deserves to be paid what they've earned. First, it's worth exploring whether notice was required to begin with. In Oklahoma, on residential projects, preliminary notice is only required when the residential property is actually occupied by the owner of the property. So, for properties where the owner does not reside - such as rental properties, or a condominium or apartment where the owner does not reside - preliminary notice won't be necessary. Moving on, where notice is required, there's a slight chance that a different document sent (such as a Notice of Intent to Lien) might actually fulfill the Oklahoma preliminary notice requirements. Based on section 142.6 of the Oklahoma lien statute, in order for a notice to satisfy the content requirements of an Oklahoma preliminary notice, the following information must be included: "(a) a statement that the notice is a pre-lien notice; (b) the complete name, address, and telephone number of the claimant, or the claimant’s representative; (c) the date of supply of material, services, labor, or equipment; (d) a description of the material, services, labor, or equipment; (e) the name and last-known address of the person who requested that the claimant provide the material, services, labor, or equipment; (f) the address, legal description, or location of the property to which the material, services, labor, or equipment has been supplied; (g) a statement of the dollar amount of the material, services, labor, or equipment furnished or to be furnished, and; (h)the signature of the claimant, or the claimant’s representative." Thus, depending on the actual information on the face of the documentation sent, a document that wasn't technically intended to be an Oklahoma preliminary notice could be effectively fulfilling the Oklahoma preliminary notice requirements. Down to brass tacks, in the event that the notice requirement was not fulfilled and a lien claimant still decides to file their lien claim - such an issue could certainly cause a filed mechanics lien to be deemed invalid and unenforceable. At the same time, though, where a debt is actually owed and the claim is filed in a timely manner, typically, a lien claim that is flawed only due to technical requirements won't rise to the level of a fraudulent lien</strong>. Most states agree that there's a difference between a fraudulent lien and honest mistakes - so filing an invalid lien won't automatically result in serious damages or liability. Of course, there's always a chance that where a claimant knows their lien won't be valid and proceeds with it anyway that the lien claim could cause problems. But, practically speaking, even where a lien claim won't be enforceable, a claimant will often have the ability to release their filed lien before serious liability is incurred as a result of the filing. Naturally, for full clarity on the potential fallout of a lien claim, plus for legal review of a potential claim, consulting a construction attorney versed in Oklahoma lien law would be helpful. They'll be able to review the relevant circumstances and documentation and advise on how best to proceed.
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