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The Mechanics’ Lien Law Heads To The Pennsylvania Supreme Court

12/21/2012 | Construction Blog

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of the Bricklayers of Western Pennsylvania Combined Funds v. Scott’s Development case, a move that could determine whether the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law will be strictly or liberally interpreted.

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Superior Court, in a case of first impression, ruled that a union could assert a Mechanics’ Lien for unpaid union benefits. In the Bricklayers case, the Superior Court took an expansive view of the Mechanics’ Lien Law, finding that the Law, and the definition of “subcontractor” should be liberally construed in order to effectuate the Law’s remedial purpose of protecting prepayment of labor and materials. On this basis, the Superior Court found that the union, which provided labor pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement with the contractor, was a “subcontractor” and could assert a mechanic’s lien.

On appeal, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will address two issues. First, whether the Mechanics’ Lien Law should be liberally or strictly interpreted. And second, whether “even liberal construction of the Mechanics’ Lien Law would permit an employee of a contractor to assert a claim as a subcontractor”.