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Does a specially fabricated material supplier have lien rights when materials are sold to the jobsite through a reseller (no labor)?

MissouriMechanics LienRight to Lien

We are a material and labor subcontractor in Missouri. The majority of our materials are pre-engineered building systems (specially fabricated materials). In some instances, our customers (general contractors or end-use owners) hire us to provide materials only because of our ability to procure and clarify products correctly. We are acting as a reseller but the product is pre-engineered buildings. In Missouri, does the manufacturer of the pre-engineered buildings have lien rights since these are specially fabricated materials (even though the products are filtered through a reseller)?

1 reply

Jul 20, 2018
This is a good and interesting question, a full examination of which would likely take up much more time and space than is available here. The short story, though, is that the supplier of the materials to the property owner/GC/sub likely would qualify for mechanics lien protection (even if they were re-selling materials they got from another party) and the manufacturer of the materials who provided them to the re-seller (the supplier-to-supplier) likely wouldn't. (Provided, obviously, that all the requirements for claiming a valid lien were otherwise met.)

Most states do not extend mechanics lien protection to suppliers-to-suppliers. Missouri does not expressly forbid such liens, but does define the parties who qualify for mechanics liens as generally those who supply labor, materials, or equipment "under or by virtue of a contract with the owner . . . contractor or subcontractor." Note that a contract with a supplier is absent from the list. While this doesn't necessarily specifically preclude a supplier-to-supplier mechanics lien, the general disfavor of such liens coupled with the definition of parties to whom a lien is available makes it less than likely that a lien would be available.
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