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BIDDING, PAYMENT AND SURVIVAL TIPS FOR OUT-OF-STATE MATERIAL SUPPLIERS, SUBCONTRACTORS AND GENERAL CONTRACTORS WORKING IN MASSACHUSETTS IN 2012

By Attorney Jonathan Sauer

1. Introduction. A lot of folks try to increase their income by working in other – foreign – states. You might ship materials into Massachusetts. You might be a subcontractor or general contractor trying to do business in Massachusetts. What are the potential pitfalls when you work in (or ship to) areas you are not entirely familiar with? What happens when your contracting party refuses to pay you? This article will give you some ideas. Here’s the best idea, however.

Massachusetts’ public work procurement systems and issues pertaining to mechanics’ liens are fairly complex. As to any potential legal problem - particularly as to a legal subject or venue you are not familiar with - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Affiliate yourself with an attorney familiar with these topics to better protect your rights and to minimize your legal expenses. If you were to contact us for possible referrals, we’re sure we could give you at least . . . . one! YO! Lawyers are just like you: in a service business! And, believe it or not, some of us are more interested, first and foremost, in providing the service than they are in paying for their boats! In fact, I don’t have a boat and would refuse one if offered. Take a look at www.sauerconstructionlaw.com. Look at all of the information and assistance that is provided without any expectation of payment. Because, as is reflected by the writings of Aristotle, if the services are well performed, the payment tends to take care of itself. Of course, he is a dead guy and whatever he says has to be taken with a grain of salt. Now, in the remainder of this article, there are references to specific Massachusetts statutes, which, in Massachusetts,

are referred to as the Massachusetts General Laws. These should be available on the internet or at a library. YO! If this were easy, then anyone could do this! You want to make the big money? Then, you’re gonna’ have to work for it. A little. It may be difficult in that some of this is book learning but WTF? (Where are The Frijoles?)

2. Public work.

There are a variety of things to keep in mind if you are going to work/supply materials into Massachusetts. Here are some ideas.

A. Getting the work.

Massachusetts has four separate basic systems for procuring materials and construction labor in Massachusetts.

I. Chapter 30B procurements. For the purposes of simply providing materials - no labor on-site in a construction context - there is a less formal system of procurement under Chapter 30B. This is the least complex/complicated of the four Massachusetts systems. Please note that public owners - particularly smaller public owners, like municipalities - don’t themselves understand the different systems and the vagaries of one versus the other. So, for example, the procurement of just materials is under the aegis of the Massachusetts Inspector General. That office has a policy manual which makes it clear that if there is any labor involved on a construction site, that labor has to be paid for by prevailing wage rates. Under the ‘prevailing wage rate’ system, the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Industries, a state agency, has to set what are the wages to be paid on public work. These, of course, tend to be higher than might ordinarily be paid by a non-union contractor. A problem on C. 30B procurements is that sometimes there is labor involved, perhaps peripherally, or, in terms of cost, a relatively small number. If the public owner does not get wage rates - thinking it doesn’t have to - then if you execute a procurement contract where no wage rates have been provided, you could have a situation down the road where another state agency, the Department of Labor and Industries or the Attorney General’s Office, which oversees a lot of procurement issues, tries to hold you responsible for not paying the prevailing wage. This could involve penalties. The basic procurement statute is MGL C. 30B. There is a policy manual available on line for these kinds of procurements. Since the Inspector General is the agency most involved with enforcing C. 30B procurements, looking at this manual before one commits oneself to any specific course of action would be a good idea.

II. Traditional “public works” procurements. This is horizontal construction, where the primary focus of the project is not a building, such as water and sewer pipes projects and paving projects. Most of the rules concerning this are similar to “filed subbid procurements”, discussed below. An exception is that, traditionally, these types of jobs do not employ the use of “filed subbids”, which simplifies the procurement process somewhat and is more favorable to general contractors inasmuch as ‘filed subbidders’ have more statutory protections than do non-filed subbid subcontractors. The basic statute governing this is MGL C. 30, s. 39M.

III. Building procurements. This is vertical construction, where the focus of the procurement is on the construction of a building. This is the traditional method of building construction. It is reasonably complex and is defined by MGL C. 149, s. 44A-H and a great number of court cases.

Basically, seventeen specific subcontractor trades bid directly to the public owner before the taking of general bids. Here are the affected trades taken directly from MGL C. 149, s. 44F:

“Such specifications shall have a separate section for each of the following classes of work if in the estimate of the awarding authority such class of work will exceed $20,000: (a) roofing and flashing; (b) metal windows; (c) waterproofing, damp-proofing and caulking; (d) miscellaneous and ornamental iron; (e) lathing and plastering; (f) acoustical tile; (g) marble; (h) tile; (i) terrazzo; (j) resilient floors; (k) glass and glazing; (l) painting; (m) plumbing; (n) heating, ventilating and air-conditioning; (o) electrical work, including direct electrical radiation for heating; (p) elevators; (q) masonry work; and (r) any other class of work for which the awarding authority deems it necessary or convenient to receive sub-bids, provided that the awarding authority may, in addition, receive a combined sub-bid on the marble, tile and terrazzo work, but in that event, the marble, tile and terrazzo work shall each be a class of work for which the sub-bidder must list the information in a clearly designated place on the bid form for that purpose.”

With regard to filed subbid trades, the bid bonds run to the owners. And, as a practical matter, filed subbidders have somewhat more favorable treatment than do non-filed subbidders in at least three ways.

First, the form of subcontract is specifically set forth by statute. (MGL C. 149, s. 44F). This is a very fair two page form of subcontract which is fairly neutral (in terms of favoring either the general contractor or the subcontractor) except that it gives strict notice requirements to the general contractor as to the giving of backcharges to the filed subbid contractor for labor and materials it claims it furnishes to the filed subbid subcontractor.

Secondly, the general contractor has to give written notice to the subcontractor of such claims within ten days of the following month after which claims originate as to general contractor claims that it has supplied labor and materials to the subcontractor’s account. At least one (former) general contractor this writer can recall was famous for giving ‘cleaning backcharges’ to subcontractors some time down the road. This provision minimizes the possibility of such charges as a ‘late hit’. (A ‘late hit’ is a hockey term, referencing a sport that may not occur at the professional level during the 2012-2013 season. Then again, it might also be a football frame of reference.)

Examples. A general contractor furnishes labor and materials to a filed subbidder (subcontractor) account on January 1. Written notice of that claim has to be given to the filed subbidder by February 10 of the same year. Next example. General contractor furnishes labor and materials to filed subbidder (subcontractor) account on December 31. Notice has to be given to the filed subbid subcontractor by January 10 of the next year, which is essentially eleven days later. Late ‘hits’ aren’t allowed in football and it is nice that there is some protection to filed subbid subcontractors (assuming you are a filed subbid subcontractor.) As all subcontractors know, general contractors like to delay giving ‘iffy’ backcharges until the very end of the job. That way, they get you to fully perform. As to direct claims for labor and materials by the general contractor, this is not allowed as to filed subbidders except as with regard to these rules. There are no rules as to so-called ‘Item 1’ subcontractors, which are subcontractors who bid directly to individual general contractors outside of the filed subbidder system.

Thirdly, a filed subbidder subcontractor is able to ‘demand payment’ from the public owner under the provisions of MGL C. 30, s. 39F. Under this procedure, a claimant can send a letter to the general contractor and owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, asking the public owner to pay the filed subbid subcontractor directly. (There is an article on our website www.sauerconstgructionlaw.com which details this procedure and provides a sample form.) This procedure requires a number of distinct steps, including the sending of the letter to the owner (and general contractor) by certified mail, return receipt requested, including an identification of the general aspects of the financial account between the parties with some detail and sending such a request signed under the pains and penalties of perjury. If the general contractor doesn’t respond to the demand in a similar form within ten days of its receipt of the letter (as proven by the green card), the public owner is to pay the subcontractor within fifteen days of its receipt of this letter out of the general contractor’s next available funds. Does this work? Candidly, it used to work better before than it does now in these days where sometimes government authorities are limited as to the funds they have available. In other words, and, believe it or not, governmental entities might be looking for terms. The answer, today, is sometimes.

Please keep in mind that this procedure is only available to filed subbidders and to certain subcontractors who are ‘approved in writing’ by the awarding authority and for certain material suppliers on projects where the Commonwealth (the state of Massachusetts) is the procuring party. For those trades which are not statutory filed subbidders, acquiring the rights of a filed subbidder to request a demand for direct payment might be as simple as making sure the owner approves you ‘in writing’ before you commence performing work. This can be as simple as simply requesting the awarding authority to approve you ‘in writing’ as to the performance of work for your trade, which might be accomplished by a letter directly to the awarding authority or sending such a letter to your general contractor client, requesting that such letter be forwarded to the awarding authority. If it were me, I would send such a letter directly to the awarding authority, copying the general contractor. In many cases, neither the general contractor nor the awarding authority will completely understand why such a request has been made. And, if the general contractor understands why such a request was made, this would be a good indication that sending such a letter was a good idea!

There are other aspects of being a filed subbidder subcontractor. One of these is that if the general contractor bidder wishes for you to supply a payment and performance bond, it is required to pay the premiums for the payment and performance bonds. However, what this means to you is that you have to be bondable and to have a pre-established bonding line. A failure to have such can cause a forfeit of the bid bond security and an inability to actually bid on filed subbidder work. (Note, discussed elsewhere, a ‘trade contractor’ has to include the cost of its own payment and performance bonds within its own proposal price.)

Another thing to keep in mind for filed subbidders bidding in Massachusetts is that under Massachusetts law, you are only able to subcontract out any portion of the work if the awarding authority says you can. This relates to the so-called ‘Paragraph E’ of the statutory bid form. If this specifically requests you to list specialty subcontractors and you don’t, you might have your bid rejected as not being in compliance with Massachusetts bid standards. On the other hand, if no specialty subcontractors are requested by the owner, your listing in ‘Paragraph E’ subcontractors can mean that your bid will be rejected as unresponsive, as a filed subbidder is required by statute to perform all of the work of its trade unless specifically directed otherwise. In Massachusetts, not including within your bid all of the information the awarding authority has requested can mean that your bid might be treated as non-responsive and, therefore, unresponsive. (Under some other circumstances, it might be treated as ‘obscure’ or ‘conditional’.) At the same time, including more information than the bid document request solicits can mean that your bid will be treated as a counter-offer! The ideal bid - whether from a filed subbidder or from the general bidder - is a bid based solely on what the owner requests and with nothing else either added or deducted. For filed subbidders, one is not allowed, in any fashion, to be a ‘broker’. A ‘broker’ might be defined as one who obtains the work and then subcontracts out some portion of that work, be it smaller or larger, to third parties. There are numerous decisions by the Attorney General with regard to bid protests stating that this is not in accordance with Massachusetts statutory law. This may seem against what a foreign bidder might be used to in its own state of origin. It is, however, what is required by the Massachusetts system.

Not all subcontractors on vertical construction will be filed subbidders. As indicated above, this concept only applies to seventeen specific trades. However, in any particular procurement, the awarding authority can request filed subbids from additional trades, although this is not usual. On a general contractor’s bid form, the filed subbidders are what is known as “Item 2” subcontractors. Those subcontractors not engaged in these specific trades are known as “Item 1” subcontractors and they are afforded fewer protections than are the filed subbidders. A filed subbidder’s bid is available to any general bidder which the filed subbidder has not restricted against. Also, a filed subbidder’s bid may be restricted to only one general contractor bidder, such as when the filed subbidder will also be submitting a bid as a general contractor. And, there are examples of some filed subbidders who specifically limit their bids to specific general contractors. There have been certain situations where the circumstances of such limitations might indicate bid rigging. ‘Item 1’ subcontractors are subcontractors who bid directly to general contractors and not necessarily to all general contractor bidders.

IV. The Contractor-at-Risk Program.

This is a relatively newer program for procurement. The ‘general contractor’ principally works for a fee. ‘Trade contractors’ take the place of filed subbidders. But, unlike the filed subbidder program, trade contractors must include the full price of their payment and performance bonds within their bid. And, such subcontractors generally have to be prequalified to submit bids by a state agency. The statute applicable to such bids is contained as MGL C. 149A.

Some miscellaneous - but important concepts - for those engaging in Massachusetts public works. First of all, the vast majority of Massachusetts public work requires subcontractors and general contractors to pay ‘prevailing wages’ to their employees. These are rates established in advance by the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Industries. To ensure their payment, there are statutory provisions requiring employers who fail to pay these wages to be subject to awards to their employees for double or triple damages and actual attorneys’ fees when such payments are not made. Massachusetts, in many ways as liberal a state as there is, is very serious about the proper payment of employees according to the prevailing wages. Weekly certified payrolls are required of subcontractors and general contractors performing this work. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office aggressively - some would say enthusiastically - investigates claimed violations of this law and procedure, particularly, some would say, as to non-union contractors. Other than fines, a failure to properly pay prevailing wages can expose contractors to being debarred from future public work for extended periods of time. While, particularly in these dark and difficult days where none of us understands the direction of where this country might be heading to, work tends to routinely go for prices below the architect’s estimated cost of the project. Those who play games with prevailing wages may ultimately regret this. It should also be noted that to work on various public projects, both subcontractors and general contractors, may need to be ‘prequalified’ by various state agencies before bids can be submitted.

Foreign contractors operating in Massachusetts in many situations are required to be registered with the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office as a foreign corporation or a foreign limited liability company. A failure to do so may cause litigations they file to be susceptible to dismissal, although such registrations may, generally, be made when such issues arise, although this is not the best way to handle this situation. Foreign contractors may also be required to have sales tax bonds to be able to do Massachusetts work. The competition for public work awards often leads to a blood sport entitled ‘bid protests’, where various bidders attempt to have other bidders’ bids rejected for failure to comply with the myriad rules and procedures for the successful presentation of a public competitive bid. (For information on this, you can look at articles on our website, such as “The Disappointed Bidder on Public Work” and, especially, “The Why’s and Wherefores of Bid Protests.” ) It would be my observation, after having handled well in excess of one hundred bid protests in the last 36 years, that there probably is no ‘error free’ procurement. Also, it is important to keep in mind that in Massachusetts, corporations must be represented by licensed attorneys in court actions, except with regard to ‘small claims’ actions which are claims under seven thousand dollars filed in the state district court system.


B. Getting paid for your work

First of all, as to public works procurements and as to public buildings procurements, there are no mechanics’ liens available in Massachusetts by statute. Under MGL C. 149, s. 29, almost all supplier claims and subcontractor claims are covered by our ‘little Miller Act’. For the vast majority of all public projects, there is a 100% payment bond available to potentially pay your claim, which is a bond executed for each project by the general contractor. If you are a second tier subcontractor – you supply materials or work directly to a subcontractor - you have to provide certified mail, return receipt requested, notice to the general contractor within 65 days of supplying your materials or completing work. This notice should reference the project, who you are, who your customer is and what you are owed. Beyond this, there are no specific requirements. Since the 65 day notice requirement by certified mail, return receipt requested, is an ‘actual notice’ requirement, if you don’t have enough time or the general contractor will not accept your certified mail letter, then service by a constable will probably be sufficient. We have constables who can serve anyone with anything within one day. Therefore, when you use a certified mail, return receipt requested, method, it is incumbent upon you to make sure there is an actual receipt within the statutory timeframes. Meaning, that it is not sufficiently merely to get your sixty-five day notice letter out within that time period. The recipient needs to receive such a letter within that time period. And, since general contractors may simply refuse to accept such letters as a matter of policy, you need to keep track of the sixty-five days, figuring it as a time for receipt and not merely as a time period within which to give notice. Keep in mind that more knowledgeable general contractors realize that any letters coming to them by certified mail are probably not good news, especially when they are from material suppliers and subcontractors they are not familiar with! And, America still being a free country – sort of – no one has to accept a certified mail letter if not so inclined.

First tier subcontractors have no ‘notice’ requirement. Like second tier suppliers and subcontractors (and lower tiers), they are required to sue the general contractor’s payment bond within one year from the last day for which labor and materials and equipment are supplied for which claim is made. Figure this conservatively, meaning to pick the earliest date that your opponent might contend that you are done. Do not use warranty dates for performance. Do not use corrective punch list dates. (It is probably safe to use the performance of punch list items of contract requirements that are being performed for the first time.) The safest way I can explain this is to say that one should figure the one year from: (a) the last date you shipped materials to the job; (b) the last date you supplied labor or materials or equipment to the project necessary to meet the plans and specifications for your specific trade. Specifically, what was the last date you supplied the last service or tightened the last nut to complete your performance for which activities you have not been paid? Please keep in mind that the statutory requirement is one year from when you last supplied the labor and materials for which claim is made. Sometimes, folks figure this time period from the last date they worked on the job. However, if the last date you worked on the job was a date you worked on a piece of change order work for which you have been paid, you will not have met the statutory requirements by suing within one year from that date. It’s one year from the last date you supplied labor and materials for which you have not been paid.

Some very specific comments. First, please be aware of the fact that writing to the bonding company within one year of your last date of performance is usually not sufficient to meet the statutory requirements. To meet those requirements, you have to sue the bonding company within one year. If you take nothing else from this article, please remember that ‘filing’ on the bond generally means ‘suing’ on the bond.

Some hopeful aspects of this process. Successful plaintiffs earn 12% simple interest on their claims from date of breach - if that can be determined - or from the date of commencement of the action. Since these types of cases typically take three to four years – or more - to bring to trial, the interest factor on such claims may be quite significant. Also, and, although MGL C. 149, s. 29 is a ‘little Miller Act’ claim, unlike the Federal Miller Act, Massachusetts claims earn the successful plaintiff subcontractor/supplier a ‘reasonable attorneys’ fee’ when they are successful in obtaining an award. Add to this that, also, unlike the Miller Act, in Massachusetts, such claims can be successfully presented from below the level of a second tier subcontractor. Simply meaning that if your company has a claim as a subcontractor to a subcontractor or below, provided your claim was filed within one year and the appropriate 65 day notice letter was given, your claim might be successful. Adding all of these factors together, the potential value of an award to a supplier or subcontractor means that not many of such claims actually goes to trial. The most recently available statistics suggests that only about one percent of such claims go through a complete trial. Massachusetts is not an insurance company friendly state and those that write insurance and surety bonds here are very much aware of this factor. Some might claim that the only difference between Massachusetts and Vermont in terms of being liberal might be limited to issues of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!

As mentioned elsewhere, filed bid subcontractors and subcontractors ‘approved in writing’ along with limited material suppliers on projects directly with the state may be able to file ‘demands for direct payment’ with awarding authorities in order to get paid. Recent history suggests these procedures are less successful during these harder times. We have had some success in suing the state where it has refused to recognize such claims. Also, smaller public contracting authorities - towns and cities - are less likely to understand this procedure and their obligations to honor properly-filed demands. As a practical matter, claims against the general contractor’s payment bond are one’s best security for claims on public work.

3. Private work.

Massachusetts has a fairly complex mechanic’s lien statute. Here are the basics. First of all, to be able to file a mechanic’s lien, one needs a ‘written contract’. The complexities of this are not as much as one would imagine. Suffice it to say, however, that there should be some kind of written agreement as to scope and price signed by your contracting party. An email might be sufficient but I think that a writing with an actual or faxed signature would be preferable. Typically, materials suppliers and smaller contractors often run afoul of these provisions. Please keep in mind that invoices are not contracts. And, that contracts cannot generally be created after the fact of performance.

A second tier subcontractor - one who subcontracts with a subcontractor, rather than with a general contractor - should serve a ‘notice of identification’ upon the general contractor within thirty days of commencing work on its contract. Figure this 30 day period from the date you actually have a signed purchase order or contract. Otherwise, the second tier subcontractor’s rights will be inferior to those that would otherwise be available to a first tier subcontractor.

Generally speaking, and with some exceptions (just to keep life interesting!), there are four steps to perfecting a subcontractor or general contractor lien. All lien documents, other than the ‘notice of identification’, have to be filed at the registry of deeds covering the county where the property is located, either originally (as to the notice of contract and the statement of account) or ultimately (as to the filing of an attested-to copy of the a court-filed complaint at the registry of deeds after filing the same with court.) First, one must file a ‘notice of contract’ within 90 days of the general contractor’s last date of performance of work at the project, which can be figured also from the last date that any of the general contractor’s subcontractors last works at the project. Secondly, within 120 days of that same date, a ‘statement of account’ must be filed by a subcontractor or general contractor. Thirdly, within 90 days of the actual date a statement of account is filed, an action in court must be filed. And, fourthly, an attested-to copy of that court complaint needs to be filed at the applicable registry of deeds within thirty days after such action is commenced. At this point in time, the mechanics’ lien action is a court action in which, at some point, a judge will determine whether or not the lien is appropriate and feasible.

Some ideas. Earlier subcontractor liens are generally more successful than later liens for a variety of reasons, including the fact that by statute a subcontractor’s lien can never exceed the amount of money the owner owes the general contractor as of the date the lien is filed. (And, a lien can be filed at any time after a subcontractor has a signed contract. It is not necessary that the subcontractor be owed any money at the time a lien is filed or to have even commenced performance of work to file a lien. ) Liens, when they work, tend to work earlier in the process rather than later in the process. Another way of saying that if a lien is going to work, it tends to work fairly quickly. The longer a lien action is pending, the less the chance such a lien will be successful. When one waits to file a lien until very late in the job, a couple of things might happen. First, the lien is less likely to be ‘funded’ in that there may not be enough funds owed to the general contractor to cover whatever liens there may be. In which case, all lienors take a ‘pro rata’ share irrespective of when such lien was filed. And, secondly, if there are multiple liens filed at any given time, there is less likelihood that any of them will be paid.

Exceptions might be where a general contractor and an owner are not in agreement as to a change order that ultimately might take care of subcontractor accounts. But, even where this might be applicable, it is unlikely that any particular subcontractor will be aware (or fully aware) of the situation at such time as a decision needs to be made whether to lien or not.

Liens can be ‘bonded off’ by any party of interest, in which case the lien itself is dissolved, replaced by an action against a surety bond, which is usually preferable to the actual lien process. Pushed to their conclusion, commercial liens don’t generally work for a variety of reasons including the fact that they will be generally inferior to prior recorded security interests and due to the fact that no one lienor - particularly subcontractors - has the financial ability to cause a project to be successfully sold to pay for the value of a lien, which requires the payment of all superior security interests first, in addition to the costs of appraisers, lawyers, auctioneers and others. This is particularly so where the market for properties is reduced, as may be the case with our so-called ‘Great Recession’. Liens by subcontractors against malls and projects where the ostensible owner is not the real owner - i.e. is a property manager - are very difficult and may result in subcontractors only being able to lien the leasehold interests of the tenant they work for. Because of a difference in the mechanics’ lien laws as regards subcontractors and general contractors, general contractors may have greater mechanics’ lien rights against mall owners than would subcontractors have. Liens with regard to work performed in common areas in condominiums are not likely to be successful because of certain statutory provisions. Also, since Massachusetts’ real estate records are divided into interests in land described as “recorded land” and “registered land”, care has to be made in the filing of liens, as some real estate records will be contained in both areas. This means that lien documents may have to be filed in both the recorded land and registered land sections of the applicable registry of deeds. This writer has had, in addition, a mall property located in two towns which were in two different counties, which required the filing of lien documents in two counties. In that particular case – the liening of a movie theater – the subcontractor had a check for the full amount due in five days. Later within the performance of the same subcontract, an additional lien was filed towards the end of the job, which was also successful.

These rules are myriad and complex. Care should be taken to entrust this work to people who do this type of work on a regular basis. While Doctor Marcus Welby may have been a comfortable and comforting concept for television viewers, the reality is that law, like medicine, is intensely specialized. The expression that one is a ‘jack of all trades’ generally means that the same individual is a master of none. Another way of saying that, generally speaking, painters aren’t electricians and masonry contractors are not drywall contractors and that none of these has the specialized knowledge and training necessary to protect its own lien rights by itself. There is an expression that one who represents oneself has a fool for a client. All the more so when dealing with a situation where one has neither the legal training nor the knowledge to properly take care of the situation.

The mechanics’ lien process in Massachusetts is not as business-acceptable as it is in other states, such as Connecticut by this writer’s prior experience. Although the stated intention of the very substantial mechanics’ lien amendments made in 1996 was to make the process less adversarial, it is still very adversarial. A strong will - and a strong stomach - may be helpful, if not necessary, to participate in this process. The filing of a lien may engender the making of any number of threats. In other words, shrinking violets need not apply!

4. Conclusion

This is a fairly short article. More extensive explanations about many of these subjects - i.e. demands for direct payments, payment bond claims and mechanics’ liens - may be found at our website www.sauerconstructionlaw.com. Folks, you go to a car repair guy when your car doesn’t work. You got to a doctor when you don’t work! Recognizing that not many of you have any great affection for those in the legal profession, nonetheless, seeing someone competent before the mistakes are made is a whole lot cheaper – and more effective – than seeing someone after Mrs. O’Leary’s cow has left the building and is in parts unknown!

Take a look at our website. This information has been prepared and made available to those who might need it with no expectation of payment. Have you seen any other lawyer’s website that is comparable in terms of content? We haven’t. Has your current counsel done anything similar? Another expression: a word to the wise is sufficient.

Please note that these materials are not intended as being specific legal advice but only as background materials for general educational purposes. For any legal problem you have, consult with counsel of your own choosing At Sauer & Sauer, we are always looking for new clients, such as quality materialmen, subcontractors, general contractors and owners. We have some ‘flat fee’ schedules for new clients on certain first files and for certain services, such as a monthly review of receivables for the purposes of deciding what legal action, if any, is warranted.

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