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Can I sue a "contractor" for a fraudulent lien that I was force to pay in order to close on my house?

ColoradoLawsuitMechanics Lien

I had a friend's husband do some electrical work in my fathers house, before we sold it. This house is part of an estate that I am the executor of. After he completed the majority of the work, I was given an invoice before the work was complete. The invoice was 3 times the original bid amount, which was 3 times higher than the original bid. With the invoice was a message that stated this would be the final invoice, but the electrician would be back to finish up the work. Months later, he came back to finish the work and I received a second invoice. I asked for an itemized invoice, and they refused. They threatened a lien before the invoice pay deadline had even hit, and then the filed it. Come to find out, this guy isn't even a licensed contractor. He is a journeyman who cannot contract his own work. I was forced to pay the lien, in order to close on the sale of the house.

1 reply

Jul 22, 2019
Rules and requirements surrounding mechanics liens are complex, it gets even more complicated when there are multiple parties, deadline calculations, invoice discrepancies, and potential or pending sales.

There is no specific requirement in Colorado's mechanics lien law that requires a party otherwise entitled to a mechanics lien to be licensed in order to claim a lien. However, there are requirements that must be met for a lien to be valid. Any potential lien claimant in Colorado must provide a specific notice of intent to lien at least 10 days prior to filing the lien itself. If this deadline is missed, it is fatal to any subsequent mechanics lien.

However, if a lien is claimed, and payment is made to the claimant, the lien's validity is apparently inconsequential. If an invalid or excessive lien is claimed, Colorado mechanics lien law provides ways that a property owner or other interested parties can get the property released from the lien, as well as providing potential damages.

If an excessive lien is claimed, and the fact that the lien was excessive is proved in a proceeding under the mechanics lien law, not only is the lien forfeited, the lien claimant is liable to the property owner in an amount equal to costs and attorneys' fees.

Additionally, property owners or other interested parties are allowed to file a bond in order to substitute security and release the property from being encumbered by a mechanics lien. This could be done to allow for the sale or refinance of the property, while the amount claimed in the lien is still being disputed.

Once a lien is paid, however, all of these mechanisms provided by Colorado's mechanics lien statutes are no longer useful. There may be some claims to be made against a party who filed a fraudulent and excessive mechanics lien after the fact, but it is much more difficult. This is a situation in which it is likely important to consult with a local attorney who can take a look at the situation fully, and explore the potential causes of action you may have. Good luck.
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