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The economy has slowly been moving in a direction that has allowed the construction industry to pick back up. Modern homes are being constructed, and improvements on existing homes are being contracted. Mechanic’s liens are a vital tool within this process. Though most people don’t even know what these liens are, they play a crucial role in most construction type projects. Due to this, it is necessary for homeowners and contractors to understand how these liens work.
What is a Mechanic’s Lien
Mechanic’s liens are liens placed on property by contractors, suppliers, and subcontractors. These liens in effect ensure that workers, engineers and other vital characters in the construction process will be able to get their payment after all of their work is done on a property. A lien allows the claimant, also known as the lienor, to collect their owed money and sometimes even force the sale of a home to do so. It’s important to remember, however, that these liens are beneficial for everyone.
It’s quite obvious why mechanic’s liens are beneficial for contractors and subcontractors. Contractors can ensure that they’re paid by the homeowner, and subcontractors can ensure that they’re paid even if the homeowner or general contractor fails to pay them. Homeowners, however, also benefit. These liens allow construction projects to go forward without an otherwise full upfront payment. This can be very beneficial for anyone having construction performed.
Overturning Mechanic’s Liens
The best way to fight a mechanic’s lien is to ensure one is never placed on a property. This can be done by obtaining releases of lien from contractors, suppliers and subcontractors before making any payment on work that will be performed. If partial payments must be made, then partial releases should be obtained.
Before making a final payment, an individual should get an affidavit from the contractor that specifies every party that provided services or labor. The contractor should also show evidence that releases from these other parties have been obtained. Unfortunately, if these steps aren’t followed correctly, liens may exist on a property.
It is possible for a person to overturn a lien by filing bankruptcy. This is obviously a serious matter which should definitely be discussed with a qualified attorney. It is also possible to work something out with the lien holder for them to remove or waive the lien. Another obvious method of handling this is by paying off the owed debt, but there are times when liens are taken out completely dishonestly. This makes it absolutely vital to have an attorney in any of these scenarios.
Protecting Mechanic’s Liens
Contractors and subcontractors also have protections against those who try to file bankruptcy to avoid paying their legitimate debts. If a homeowner is simply trying to get work done for free, the courts can sometimes help. When bankruptcy is filed, automatic stays are put onto any foreclosure process that arises or is already in process. This means that claimants cannot collect their owed money in a court of law.
It is possible, however, for a contractor or subcontractor to file for relief from this automatic stay. This will allow them to foreclose on their lien, but this process must be done through the bankruptcy court. The claimant must show that just cause exists for this relief to be given, and this is sometimes a difficult process. Once again, an individual with a lawyer at their side has a much better chance of coming out of the mess successful. Obtaining the services of an accomplished attorney is likely the only way a contractor will be paid after a debtor files bankruptcy.
Mechanic’s liens have been in use in America since its founding, and they are a vital resource in stimulating construction projects. Laws related to mechanic’s liens, however, are fluid in a way. The need may arise for a homeowner or contractor to take steps to overturn or protect a lien, respectively. This may at times require legal help, but it’s a small price to pay to ensure a construction project is handled effectively.
For more information about mechanics lien, click here … More Overturning Mechanics Liens For Construction Projects
Long Beach, California Personal Injury attorney online reputation repair management. Californians are sometimes injured by people who are working at the time of their accidents, including public employees. Both private and public employers may be held to be liable for the actions of their employees in certain situations. A recent case, Jonathan Soto v. City of Long Beach, BC 559317, that was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court demonstrates the principle of vicarious liability for public employees.Case backgroundOn Feb. 4, 2014, Jonathan Soto, a 66-year-old man who was retired, fell asleep on the beach close to the 5400 block of Ocean Boulevard around 10 a.m. While he was sleeping, a city employee with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine was driving a city truck on the beach, picking up trash as a part of his job. The driver, Stanley Willie Delaney, also had a passenger in his vehicle. Failing to see Soto, Delaney ran over him. Soto was seriously injured and suffered a broken pelvis and fractures to his lumbar vertebrae numbers one through four. Soto filed his lawsuit against the City of Long Beach and against Delaney on Oct. 1, 2014.Plaintiff’s argumentsSoto argued that Delaney was negligent when he was operating the truck in the course and scope of his employment for the city because he failed to watch out for people on the beach. He also argued that Delaney was driving at an unsafe rate of speed and that he was distracted by the passenger who was with him in the vehicle. In order to prove the extent of his injuries, he called a medical expert, orthopedist Jacob Tauber, M.D., to testify at trial. He claimed special damages for his past accident-related medical expenses in the amount of $253,642 as well as non-economic losses.Defendant’s argumentsThe defendants argued that Soto was negligent for sleeping in an area that he should have known was traveled by trucks. They also disputed the extent of his injuries, arguing that he made a full recovery and had no lasting ill effects. The defendant called their own medical expert, Thomas Schmalzried, M.D., to testify at trial.Offers and demandsBefore trial, the final demand made by the plaintiff was $1,600,000. The defendant countered with a final offer of $640,000, which the plaintiff rejected. The defendant did not make any further offers during the trial.VerdictAfter a trial that lasted for 6 days, the jury deliberated for 1 day, returning a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. He was awarded a total of $2,328,954.50. Of that amount, $253,642 was for his past medical expenses. The remaining $2,075,312.50 was for the non-economic losses that Soto suffered as a result of the accident.Vicarious liability and public employeesCalifornia codifies a public employer’s liability for the tortious actions of its employees at Cal. Govt. Code § 815.2(a). Under that statutory section, a public employer may be liable when an employee’s actions or failures to act are the proximate cause of another person’s injuries if the acts or omissions would have been legal grounds for the injured person to sue the employee separately if he or she had not been working. In the instant case, Delaney’s negligence formed a legal ground upon which Soto would have had the basis to sue him if he had not been working at the time. However, since he was working within the scope and course of his employment when the accident happened, Soto was able to hold the city liable for damages.
The vicarious liability of an employer for the actions of its employees is based on a legal theory called respondeat superior. This is a Latin term that translates as ‘let the master answer.’ In order for the theory to apply, the employee must have been negligent while acting in the course and scope of his or her employment. His or her negligent action must have caused the accident, the accident must have resulted in harm to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff must have suffered actual damages from it.Course and scope of employmentIn order to prove that a worker was acting in the course and scope of his or her employment, the plaintiff must show that the worker was on the clock at the time of the accident, and that the injury resulted from the employee’s performance of an activity for which he or she was employed to perform and that the activity was one that the employer would benefit from in some way.
In this case, Delaney was clearly working at the time of the accident, picking up trash for the City of Long Beach when he ran over Soto, a task which was part of his job. The city clearly benefitted from his removing trash left behind on the beach by beachgoers.
The vicarious liability of a public employer for an employee is codified in order to help people who are injured through the fault of the employee to recover full and fair compensation for their economic and noneconomic losses.
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