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Can I file a mechanical lein on equipment located in Connecticut but owned by a company in Missouri?

ConnecticutMechanics Lien

I own a Power generation consulting company that was hired to test a generator being installed by Pro Energy Services in Missouri for the City of Wallingford Connecticut. We provided the services in Wallingford but have yet to be paid. The two site visits total $14,000.00 The equipment is two GE LM6000 turbine generator sets approx. used value $39,000,000.00

1 reply

Mar 15, 2018
I'm not sure a mechanics lien would be proper in this situation for a few reasons. First, it's not very clear whether the work provided would be considered providing labor or materials in the arena of lien rights. Mechanics lien rights generally provide protection for parties like general contractors, subs, or suppliers providing construction labor or materials. The work of professionals - like a consultant - might be lienable in some states, though. Testing equipment might fall into the grey area when determining whether or not mechanics lien rights will be available. Next, lien rights are available on private projects, but when a project is for a state or federal entity, lien rights are typically unavailable. This is because mechanics liens attach to the underlying project property rather than specific pieces of equipment or material used on a project - a private person or entity may not encumber property owned by the public via mechanics lien. That raises another potential issue - attempting to file a lien against a turbine generator would not encumber real estate as mechanics liens are intended to do. However, an attempt to file a lien against the entire facility would fall more in line with the traditional use of mechanics liens. Keep in mind, though, that if the property is publicly owned, then lien rights will likely not be available. Instead, on public projects, payment bonds are required by a state's Little Miller Act to secure claims. To be sure, the state where the project is located/where work is performed would be the state whose Little Miller Act applies. You can learn more about Connecticut's Little Miller Act here: Connecticut Bond Claims FAQ. Regardless of the availability of mechanics lien rights, there are still other options to recover debts for nonpayment. First, threatening to file a mechanics lien on a project is often a scary enough proposition to force an owner to pay what is owed. Next, a demand letter through an attorney often also greases the wheels to recovery. Finally, litigation is always an option - especially when such a large sum is involved. Ultimately, these are just a few of many available options, and hiring an attorney familiar with relevant construction and contract law would be a wise move. They will be able to decide what options are best suited for your circumstances, and they'll be able to advise you on which path to take.
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