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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>If a subcontractor's supplier files a prelim and sign a final (i.e. in Aug 2018) and then has additional invoices in Sept 2018, do they relinquish their lien rights by the original unconditional final? Or do they continue to exist by the invoices dated after the original unconditional final?

If a subcontractor's supplier files a prelim and sign a final (i.e. in Aug 2018) and then has additional invoices in Sept 2018, do they relinquish their lien rights by the original unconditional final? Or do they continue to exist by the invoices dated after the original unconditional final?

CaliforniaLien Waivers

One of our subcontractors, in California, is claiming their supplier doesn't have to sign another unconditional final, even though I know they have invoices after the date of the original unconditional final.

1 reply

Sep 14, 2018
That's a good question, and it's fair to be cautious. Let's look at California's final unconditional waiver for a little clarity (which is housed at § 8138 of the California Civil Code). This waiver states, in relevant part, "This document waives and releases lien, stop payment notice, and payment bond rights the claimant has for all labor and service provided, and equipment and material delivered, to the customer on this job. Rights based upon labor or service provided, or equipment or material delivered, pursuant to a written change order that has been fully executed by the parties prior to the date that this document is signed by the claimant, are waived and released by this document, unless listed as an Exception below. The Claimant has been paid in full." As you'll notice, the two bolded portions seem to indicate that the waiver only waives lien rights for work already performed. The first bolded portion relates to "labor and service provided, and equipment and material delivered" - both in the past tense, meaning, prior to the signing of the waiver. The second bolded portion is a little more clear - it states that the lien rights arising for work performed under contract or change order "prior to the date that this document is signed" are waived. Thus, it's fair to conclude that if a change order was validly executed after a waiver is signed, an additional waiver may be necessary since California's final unconditional waiver waives lien rights for work performed before the document was signed. While the document does state that "The Claimant has been paid in full," when change orders occur after the document has been submitted, there's a more than fair chance that those lien rights are not waived. The safest route to avoid a lien claim, if payment has been made, would likely be to obtain another lien waiver for work performed after the prior final unconditional lien waiver was submitted.
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