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Two Contracts, One Claim of Lien, Contractor Loses!

Rosenthal Law Group recently prevailed in appeal before the Fourth District Court of Appeal of a Summary Judgment in its favor and against a demolition contractor on its lien foreclosure case claiming unpaid charges on a demolition project.

Rosenthal Law Group represented a commercial property owner who entered into two contracts: the first contract was a demolition contract to perform demolition services on a building and the second was a contract for removal of exterior signage on the same parcel of land.

A dispute arose between the parties and the contractor filed a single Claim of Lien pursuant to Florida Statute Chapter 713 for the total charges due and owing under both of the contracts. The property owner transferred the lien to a bond pursuant to Florida law. Thereafter, the contractor filed suit to foreclose on the lien bond and for damages. The owner filed a counterclaim.

Rosenthal Law Group filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on behalf of its client to invalidate the Claim of Lien because it improperly combined charges claimed to be due under two separate direct contracts between the contractor and the property owner. Judge Mily Rodriguez Powell granted the Motion for Summary Judgment and discharging the Claim of Lien.

The contractor appealed the summary judgment. On appeal, the contractor argued that Florida law did not prohibit the combing of charges due under two contracts into a single claim of lien. Rosenthal Law Group argued that Florida Statute §713.09 and clear Florida precedent prohibits the filing of a single claim of lien which combines charges due under two direct contracts.

Oral argument was held on June 11, 2019 and was argued by Alex Rosenthal. The following day, the Fourth District Court of Appeal issued an opinion affirming the summary judgment.

This case confirms that Florida law prohibits the filing of a single claim of lien for charges under two direct contracts and provides clear direction to contractors and owners that strict compliance with Florida’s lien laws is not only critical, but that the failure to do so can result in the loss of all lien rights.

View Alex Rosenthal's oral argument video here.