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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>My cabinet maker breached contact by making things wrong. We gave him ample opportunity to correct the mistakes including correcting the final invoice to accommodate cabinets we had to purchase elsewhere when he refused to fix them. He has since walked off the job, not completed our kitchen and has used your company to send a NOI. What do we do?

My cabinet maker breached contact by making things wrong. We gave him ample opportunity to correct the mistakes including correcting the final invoice to accommodate cabinets we had to purchase elsewhere when he refused to fix them. He has since walked off the job, not completed our kitchen and has used your company to send a NOI. What do we do?

WisconsinConstruction ContractMechanics LienNotice of Intent to LienPayment Disputes

Is your NOI legal?

1 reply

Sep 10, 2018
This is a frustrating situation. Trying to work things out and still being faced with the possibility of a lien is not how anybody wants a project to go.

While workmanship disputes may ultimately reduce the amount due (and amount that could be recovered through a lien) and/or give rise to a breach of contract suit against the cabinet maker - such disputes do not generally prohibit a lien from being filed.

Wisconsin requires certain notices to be provided prior to filing a lien claim in order to have a valid lien. For parties that contract directly with the property owner (potentially subject to some exclusions) must provide a notice either in the contract or within 10 days of beginning work. Other parties (on projects on 1-4 unit residential properties) must send a notice within 60 days of first furnishing of labor and/or materials to the project. In addition - ALL parties must provide a notice of intent to lien at least 30 days prior to filing the lien itself.

The notice of intent works to provide an opportunity to work out the situation in order to avoid a lien claim. Liens, whether or not ultimately valid as filed, can be a hassle to defend against and remove from the property. When an NOI is received, the general options are as follows: 1) reach out to the claimant and attempt to work out the dispute amicably; 2) do nothing and wait to see if it was a bluff or if a lien will be filed and re-assess; or 3) file suit proactively against the claimant for breach of contract or pursuant to some other cause of action.

It's always best if the parties can communicate to resolve the issue without liens or litigation.
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