BTG Files Construction Lawsuit For Unpaid Renovation Work
The Business Trial Group has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a contractor for alleged nonpayment for residential renovation work in Parkland, Florida.
Business Trial Group attorney, Roger C. Brown, Esq., represents the general contractor against the homeowner, who owes the contractor more than $283,000.00, the lawsuit claims. Construction went on for more than three years and was nearly completed, but work ceased when the homeowner did not make payments. The contractor then retained the Business Trial Group to record a construction lien and file a lawsuit for the unpaid work.
It’s a common problem for contractors not to be paid for their work, even when the client does not allege genuine defects, delays, or other quality issues. In these disputes, hiring an attorney by the hour can be more costly than taking the loss. As a result, the client may think they can get away with it—and they often do—because of the perverse incentive created by hourly attorney billing.
But this strategy will not work when the contractor hires The Business Trial Group on a contingency-fee basis. Construction lien claims may also entitle the lienholder to attorney’s fees, in addition to any damages owed.
Construction Work Performed on Parkland, Florida Home
In April 2015, Westerfield Construction By Glick, LLC (the Plaintiff) entered into a construction agreement with Gianpaolo Ciancimino to perform renovation work on a private residence located at 8600 NW 72nd Street, Parkland, Florida. The upscale residence, jointly owned by Mr. Ciancimino and his wife, Danielle Ciancimino (the defendants), has six bedrooms, six bathrooms, a heated pool, and a guest cottage. It is valued at approximately $1.5 million on Zillow.
The parties’ contract stipulated that the basis of payment would be the “cost of work plus a fee without a guaranteed maximum price.” Westerfield Construction claims that as of October 15, 2018, it still had not received payment, despite properly performing work under the contract. The alleged amount owed to Westerfield at the time it ceased the renovations is $283,366.54.
With help from Business Trial Group attorneys Roger Brown and Zachary Hudson, Westerfield recorded a Claim of Lien on the project. Shortly thereafter, the attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of Westerfield against the Cianciminos for breach of contract, construction lien foreclosure, and unjust enrichment.
How Contractors Can Collect Unpaid Construction Bills
When a property owner has not paid a contractor for work that was performed on a project, the contractor can file a construction lien (also known as a “mechanic’s lien”) against the property. A Claim of Lien is an official filing with the state that gives the lienholder a security interest (or right of ownership) in the property. Although the lien by itself does not compel the property owner to pay the contractor, it creates legal difficulties for the owner that incentivize payment. For example, having a lien on the owner’s home makes it very difficult for them to sell or refinance the property.
If a contractor files a lien and the owner still does not provide payment, the contractor can file a construction lien foreclosure. This could result in the property being sold at auction and the lienholder being paid from the proceeds. But as long as the owner satisfies their debt, the lawsuit may not actually lead to a foreclosure sale.
Florida contractors who wish to file a lien for unpaid construction bills must follow state law. Specific requirements include filing a Claim of Lien within 90 days of from the last date work was performed, and serving the claim on the owner within 15 days of its recording. Notice must also be provided to the owner prior to filing a lawsuit to foreclose on the construction lien. And a lien foreclose must be filed no later than one year from the Claim of Lien recording date.
Failure to follow Florida’s lien laws could cause contractors to lose their construction lien rights, so it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Fortunately,Florida law allows for the recovery of attorney’s fees in any action brought to enforce a construction lien. Even without a lien, a contractor can often sue for breach of contract to resolve a nonpayment claim.
Contingency-Fee Florida Construction Attorneys
The Business Trial Group regularly represents contractors in payment bond and other construction litigation claims. Because we charge only for results, our clients are not subjected to additional financial pressure above and beyond their unpaid work. Our goal is to not only have the best construction attorneys in Florida, but to have affordable construction attorneys as well.
To discuss your claim with an attorney at no charge and with no obligation, please contact us.