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Subcontractor’s Lien Upheld Despite Not Identifying Contractor

Must a subcontractor’s claim of lien identify the contractor in order to be valid? In the recent case of Robertson v. Ridge Environmental, LLC, the Court of Appeals of Georgia held that a subcontractor’s claim of lien does not need to include the name of the contractor.

Subcontractor performed work on several properties at the direction of Contractor. When Subcontractor was not paid for the work, it filed claims of lien on the properties. But the claims of lien did not identify Contractor, and instead they stated that materials were furnished at the request of Owners.

To remove the liens, Owners filed a lawsuit to declare the liens invalid based on the liens’ failure to name the contractor. Owners argued that when Subcontractor filed a claim against Contractor, it did not perfect the lien because Contractor was not named in the claim of lien.

The court reviewed the lien statute, which states,

As stated in OCGA § 44–14–361.1, “the claim of lien shall be in substance as follows: A.B., a mechanic, contractor, subcontractor, materialman, machinist, manufacturer, registered architect, registered forester, registered land surveyor, registered professional engineer, or other person (as the case may be) claims a lien in the amount of (specify the amount claimed) on the house, factory, mill, machinery, or railroad (as the case may be) and the premises or real estate on which it is erected or built, of C.D. (describing the houses, premises, real estate, or railroad), for satisfaction of a claim which became due on (specify the date the claim was due, which is the same as the last date the labor, services, or materials were supplied to the premises) for building, repairing, improving, or furnishing material (or whatever the claim may be).”

Nothing in the statute requires a subcontractor’s claim of lien to include the name of the contractor.   Instead, it merely requires the name of the owner of property on which work, materials, or labor was provided.

Since the lien statute did not require Subcontractor to name Contractor in its claim of lien, the court dismissed Owner’s declaratory-judgment action.