The Time Period for Filing Affidavit for Mechanic’s Lien Is Not Extended by Unauthorized Work

The Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals recently held that to perfect a lien against a construction project for materials provided, the equipment supplier must file its affidavit for Mechanics Lien within 75 days of work being performed on the project; but that work must be expressly authorized by the Owner or Contractor and in furtherance of the construction contract. In Argo Construction Company, Inc., v. Kroger Limited Partnership I et al., Argo leased equipment to the excavating subcontractor (Tower Construction) in connection with the construction of a Kroger Store in Ohio. When Tower Construction defaulted on its lease payments, Argo filed an affidavit for mechanic’s lien against the project indicating March 1, 2007, as the last date the Argo equipment was used at the project site. The trial court concluded, as was ultimately upheld by the appellate court, that the Contractor did not authorize winter work and the last specifically authorized work by Tower Construction occurred on December 28, 2006. Although project records show that the Tower Construction Project Superintendent performed work with Argo’s equipment at the site in January and February of 2007, that work was admittedly without the permission of the Contractor or Owner and performed in an attempt to improve Tower Construction’s relationship with the Contractor and to seek additional compensation for “extra work” and was not to be taken into account when perfecting the mechanic’s lien. As a result, Argo failed to timely perfect its lien rights in connection with the leased equipment. According to the holding in this case, the deadline for filing an Affidavit for Mechanic’s Lien (ORC 1311.06) is determined only by specifically authorized labor or work or materials furnished by the person claiming the lien in connection with the contract between the parties.

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