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Can a contractor’s workers demand $ from me if my dealings were not with that individual? Or can they place a legitimate lien?

CaliforniaLawsuitRight to Lien

I am a general contractor, I hired a stucco guy that had a crew. I paid him after every phase and he paid his guys. Now one of his helpers is demanding me pay him directly and now. My dealings were not with him, they are with the stucco guy that I hired (verbal contract). His helper is now threatening to do something to my house damage wise and/or place a lien. Will I be obligated to pay him in court if my dealings were not with him?

1 reply

Aug 14, 2018
This is an especially frustrating situation, and one that was recently addressed by new California laws.

Specifically:

"For contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2018, a direct contractor making or taking a contract in the state for the erection, construction, alteration, or repair of a building, structure, or other private work, shall assume, and is liable for, any debt owed to a wage claimant or third party on the wage claimant’s behalf, incurred by a subcontractor at any tier acting under, by, or for the direct contractor for the wage claimant’s performance of labor included in the subject of the contract between the direct contractor and the owner."

This means that California GCs are liable to pay unpaid wages of anybody doing work for any subcontractors (of any tier) on their projects. If the wage claimant files suit, he will need to prove that he wasn't paid by the sub for the work performed, and then the GC and the non-paying sub can both be held liable for the unpaid wages.

Regarding a lien, liens can be filed for unpaid labor - but an enforceable liens are limited to being filed against the property improved. If the project was not an improvement to the GC's house, there is no right to file a mechanics lien against the GC's property. If the work was for the GC's property, a lien may be appropriate, but still must meet the formal and timing requirements set forth by statute.
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