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How do I define the "Date Labor or Materials Last Delivered" for my company's workflow, with an initial Engineering Submittal phase?

New JerseyLien DeadlinesMechanics LienPreliminary Notice

My company designs and supplies equipment to contractors. The first thing we do after receiving an order is generate an engineering submittal, which can take up to 6 weeks of labor. Then the customer approves it, or asks for corrections before approving it. This approval is our first billing milestone. So when setting a "Date Labor or Materials Last Delivered" in zlien, do I use the date on which we begin expending labor? Or do I use the date that submittals are approved, which is the date where the customer believes they've actually had something 'delivered' to them? Note that our company does business all over the US (and internationally).

1 reply

Oct 19, 2017
Because, like with many things in mechanics lien law, the definition or rules regarding the calculation of dates can vary from state to state, it is difficult to give overarching answers that are generally applicable. There are many variables that can be considered in determining which date is appropriate to use for preliminary notice and lien deadline purposes. In the event that the equipment being designed and supplied is only applicable to a certain particular job/project, such equipment may be determined "specially fabricated materials" which are subject to different requirements in many states.

Generally, however, the determination of dates is important for the purpose of calculating deadlines, so that purpose can be used to gauge what date you want to use. As there are rarely cases in which a notice or lien can be sent too early (provided some work has already been expended y the lien claimant), and there are significant potential penalties for sending a notice or lien late, it may make sense from a practical standpoint to use the earliest date. If a party is actually providing labor for which they may later file a lien, the first furnishing date has passed - waiting too long can have adverse consequences on lien rights. However, to the extent the engineering submittal is just preliminary work for which the customer is not charged - the lienable work may have not yet begun.

Note, however, that the previous information is in relation to the first date of furnishing. The question notes the "last" date of furnishing, the calculation of which is likely not effected by the above dates. The last date of furnishing is determined by when the potential claimant completes his/her work for the project.
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