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Subcontractor is threatening to put a lien on my property after my contractor terminated him.

Washington DCMechanics Lien

My GC says the work was not completed and he was paid already for portions of his contract but it was poorly done and he was passed his timeline and didnt finish the scope of work. The GC brought in other people to finish his work because he couldnt complete it. His contract was for 18k and he basically sent me a filled out lien form for 65k as a threat saying he will file with dc. I have never met this sub before and didnt know he existed until he called me this weekend. He sent me text saying either I pay him or he will submit the lien which feels like extortion

3 replies

Jan 14, 2021

It is probably worthwhile to get your lawyer involved in this now while it is still a monor problem, but the short answer is to withhold $65,000 from payments to the GC and tell him to get it resolved. If a workman's lien is filed, you can then petition the court to release the lien and post the claimed amount in the registry of the court so the contractor and the sub can fight about it. Sometimes, you can collect attorneys fee for that. 

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Jan 14, 2021

I spoke with another lawyer and he said there is not much for him to do until after the lien is filed. What should the lawyer do at this time while it is still a minor problem. The most ideal situation obviously is for the subcontractor to drop it without filing in the first place.
Also for the suggestion of sending a threat of legal action. I was planning on sending the contractor an email saying he has no valid claim, the GC spent the remainder of your contracts money on hiring other workers to fix your subpar work and complete your unfinished work. We have all reciepts, pictures and videos of the subpar work and if you file the lien we can easily release it and charge you for attorney fees. The GC will go after your business license for the false claims, unprofessionalism, and unqualified work.

Or something along those lines. Is this what you mean by sending a threat of legal action?

I assume this is your specialty in the legal field. How much is your retainer and how much do you expect it to cost to resolve this issue?

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Jan 14, 2021

The last thing you want to do is put yourself in the middle of a dispute between the contractor and his sub. That would be a disaster, and, for that matter, how do you know who is right, and do you want to pay for the experts to prove your views. [That's a rhetorical question; don't answer]. The best approach is to get a lawyer on board to guide you. Handled correctly, a one-hour consult might teach you how, or, if you didn't want to do it yourself, another hour or two of the lawyer as a point-man would likely resolve it. Let's start with a consult. Unfortunately, with the ratings you've seen on-line from my clients, I can no longer afford to offer free consults, or I'd be trying to make a living doing free consults all day. While my hourly rate is $400/hour, and I charge $200-$325/ hour for junior affiliates and $125/hour for assistant time, for clients who found me on the Internet, I discount the initial consult of up to one hour by 25%, as long as the $300 is prepaid by credit or debit card. If it turns out that the matter can be resolved within the same hour, we will offer services to conclude the matters. The link to pay the $300 consult fee is here: <pay.mwlc.net>. Enter invoice number 9999 for new matters. We accept most credit and debit cards. We can schedule as early as tomorrow by Zoom conference or by telephone, Skype, WhatsApp, or FaceTime.

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