Thoughts on construction law from Christopher G. Hill, Virginia construction lawyer, LEED AP, mediator, and member of the Virginia Legal Elite in Construction Law

A Great VA Supreme Court Opinion on Mechanic’s Liens

The Supreme Court of Virginia Building, adjace...
The Supreme Court of Virginia Building, adjacent to Capitol Square in Richmond, Virginia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mechanic’s liens are dear to my construction lawyer’s heart, and I write about them often here at Construction Law Musings. I try and cover everything from the General Assembly making changes to the rules, to general discussions of recent cases.

Recently, a great case came out of the Virginia Supreme Court that gives great insight into the way that the Virginia court system will analyze the timing, value and priority of liens. That case is Glasser & Glasser v Jack Bays, Inc et al.

This case gets a great discussion from my friend Spencer Wiegard over at the Virginia Construction Law Update, so I won’t get into the nitty gritty details but so deeply here. Suffice it to say that a church construction project went kaput over financing, the project terminated (over time) and the general contractor and its subcontractors all filed liens.

Due to the timing and method of termination, the general contractor stopped work prior to the subcontractors stopping work. Also, just for fun, some bond holders had a tangential interest in the property, but were not named in the lawsuits that were timely filed to enforce the liens.

Based on this scenario and the subsequent appeal by the lenders, the Virginia Supreme Court had a great opportunity to discuss the applications of the so called 90 day rule, the 150-day “lookback” rule, what parties are necessary to the proper prosecution of a mechanic’s lien suit, and priority of liens (among a few other items). In short, it makes a great starting point for any Virginia construction practitioner to analyze a mechanic’s lien claim.

Because of its comprehensive nature and its application of the mechanic’s lien statutes to the facts of this particular situation, I highly recommend that you read both Spencer’s discussion of the case and the case itself (both of which are linked above).

As always, I welcome your comments. Also, please subscribe to keep up with this and other Construction Law Musings.

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