Subcontractor Lien Rights Vindicated

Kegler Brown Construction Newsletter

A trial court in eastern Ohio ruled a mechanic's lien of a mechanical contractor on a bumper painting factory invalid, apparently adopting the argument that the 1992 changes to the mechanic's lien law eliminated lien rights on manufacturing facilities. However, the Fifth Appellate District reversed and expressly held that the subcontractor's mechanic's lien was valid because its work and materials were "improvements to a building, fixture, appurtenance or other structure." Mid-Ohio Mechanical, Inc. v. Carden Metal Fabricators, Inc., Case No. 2006-CA-13, October 6, 2006.

The Court of Appeals noted that while "the paint line could be detached from the factory, this is probably true of any structure, temporary or permanent, given enough time and money."

While the 1992 lien changes eliminated some antiquated words like "mill" and "manufactory" when it adopted a new more modern definition of "materials", it was never intended to reduce the lien rights of subcontractors and suppliers against construction improvements.

The case will now return to the trial court to determine the "amount due and owing" the subcontractor on its mechanic's lien. Our firm successfully argued the appeal on behalf of the unpaid subcontractor.