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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>We are a heavy equipment rental company based out of Montana. we rented a Montana customer a Dozer that he took to Pennsylvania to work. He has gotten about 4 months behind on rent of $9,500 a month. He is not returning our called and i have heard rumors that he is going under. We have GPS on the maachine so have an idea where it is. My question is how do I proceed? Do I report it stolen? We have already served the prject owner an intent to lien

We are a heavy equipment rental company based out of Montana. we rented a Montana customer a Dozer that he took to Pennsylvania to work. He has gotten about 4 months behind on rent of $9,500 a month. He is not returning our called and i have heard rumors that he is going under. We have GPS on the maachine so have an idea where it is. My question is how do I proceed? Do I report it stolen? We have already served the prject owner an intent to lien

MontanaRecovery Options

don't know what to do first

1 reply

Oct 15, 2018
I'm very sorry to hear about that. For one, it's important to recall that the lien laws of the location where work is performed will apply. Thus, if some work is performed on one job, and some is performed on another, separate claims would very likely be required - and when those locations cross state lines, that means very different lien procedures would apply if a lien were to be utilized. The following pages should help with that effort: Montana Mechanics Lien FAQ and Pennsylvania Mechanics Lien FAQ. As mentioned above, it could be beneficial to think about other methods of recovery, especially considering the odd nature of the debt owed here (i.e. a contractor going MIA with equipment half way across the country). To recover the equipment itself, exploring the potential of alleging theft could be beneficial. Civil disputes are bad enough, and no contractor wants to face criminal charges. So, at least threatening theft charges could be helpful in retrieving the missing equipment. In terms of receiving amounts owed, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien is a good first step - and in Pennsylvania, it's a required one. Sending other legal threats in a demand letter (such as potentially breach of contract, unjust enrichment, or under prompt payment laws), could be effective, too - especially when made via an attorney. Small claims court may be an option, too, but in Montana, the maximum amount of a claim is $7,000 in small claims court. In Pennsylvania, the limit for a small claims court claim is $12,000. Finally, if all else fails, full blown litigation is always a last resort.
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