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What is the rule/law on contractors paying out of my contract without notice?

OklahomaConstruction ContractPayment Disputes

I am a painting in Oklahoma. Sub - Subcontractor from another painting company, that painting company paid my sub out of my contract without notice. What could I Do?

1 reply

Mar 28, 2018
This is a really good question. First, it should be noted that payment terms could certainly be set out in the contracts for this project in such a way that provides for the ability to directly pay a sub. Anyway, based on § 143 of the Oklahoma mechanics lien statute, it appears that an owner may be able to directly pay a subcontractor in order to avoid to possibility of a mechanics lien claim. Under that section, an owner may pay a subcontractor directly - the owner may pay an unpaid subcontractor the amount due to that subcontractor, and the amount paid will be subtracted from the amount due under the original contract. However, the statute is not written particularly clearly - and there's a valid question as to whether the ability to directly pay a subcontractor only applies to an owner paying first-tier subcontractor (who has directly contracted with the prime contractor). Regarding how to move forward, there are any number of potential options - but unless a payment dispute erupts regarding how much would now be owed under the subcontract, pursuing action might be more trouble than it's worth. Of course, consulting a local construction attorney could help provide some clarity here - they would be able to survey the circumstances surrounding your individual situation and provide options on how to move forward.
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