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project under warrenty then I get a hugh verbal bill, without a contract, then they threaten liens and judgments.

CaliforniaMechanics LienPayment Disputes

our water well pump was still under warranty less then a year old and it quit working so we called out the company that installed it and they came out to pull up the pump to replace it, while pulling it up they broke off all the well pipe and the pump inside the well. They said they they would be back to fix the problem, three months later they showed up at our gate with a well rig and they pulled up all the broken pipe and pump out the well, and never finished the job by re installing the pipe and pump nor getting us water. after it was all said and done we were verbally told that we owe them $7000, we have no contract and were under the impression that they came back to fix what they broke. 8 months later they showed up at the door telling us that they were going to put a lien and judgment on our house. Can they legally do that. we are in California.?? thanks Crystal

1 reply

Mar 27, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that. First, I'll note that regarding any potential litigation, it would be wise to consult a local attorney if a lawsuit is imminent - particularly, one familiar with contract law might be particularly helpful. Further, if a lawsuit is initiated and a judgment is filed against you, a judgment lien may come into play - however, those liens are beyond the scope of our expertise. Regarding a potential mechanics lien, the time for such a lien filing has likely passed. In order for a California mechanics lien to be validly filed, such a lien must be filed at the earlier of 90 days after completion of the work of improvement, or 60 days after a Notice of Completion/Cessation is recorded - whichever is earlier. This means that, if a project has been completed and more than 90 days have passed, a valid mechanics lien may likely not be filed. Further, if there's a dispute as to whether anything is actually owed for the work completed, that could also result in a lien being considered improper, frivolous, or even fraudulent. Unfortunately, that is not to say that a mechanics lien definitely won't be filed - invalid mechanics liens are filed all the time. However, steep penalties can come into play when liens are improperly filed - especially when done in bad faith. Before a lien is filed, it may be worthwhile to notify a potential claimant that any lien claim would be far overdue and that penalties and fines may come into play as the result of a baseless lien filing.
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