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If someone had me sign an un-conditional lien waiver and then didnt pay me, can I still file a lien?

IllinoisRecovery Options

The customer said she would not pay me unless I signed a lien waiver, so I signed her lien waiver and then she refused to pay me. It turns out that the lien waiver she had me sign was an unconditional lien waiver, which I had never seen before. I'm owed almost $5,000.00 and she is no longer responding to any of my emails or phone calls. Can I still file a lien and recoup the money that is owed to me?

1 reply

Sep 4, 2018
I'm very sorry to hear that, and it sounds like this customer is really abusing the lien waiver process. Losing the right to file a lien does not mean that payment cannot be recovered. However, it can make recovery quite a bit harder. For one, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien can go a long way to compel payment - regardless of whether the sender is able to file a valid mechanics lien. A Notice of Intent to Lien acts a lot like a warning shot - it states that if payment is not made, a lien will be filed. By sending a Notice of Intent to Lien to your customer, to any other higher-tiered party, and to the property owner, you can let everyone along the payment chain know that you've gone unpaid and that you intend to do something about it. If effective, this will create pressure for your customer from multiple parties and compel them to finally make payment. Another option may be to threaten a lawsuit for breach of contract, for violation of the Illinois prompt payment laws, unjust enrichment, or under some other theory of recovery. When the threat comes from an attorney, it tends to carry a little more weight. Sending the threat of lawsuit to your customer, to any other higher-tiered party, and to the property owner can create maximum visibility for your claim. Finally, if necessary, filing a lawsuit for recovery is an option. Consulting a local construction or real estate attorney can help to assess your legal claims and create a plan of attack moving forward. They'll be able to review your contract, any communications, and the signed lien waiver to provide advice for proceeding. Finally, this article may also be helpful: Other Options for Recovery. Good luck
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