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Unlevel Playing Field: Construction Liens from Popular Lien Processing Service Violate Florida Law

Wed 1st Feb, 2023 Industry News

Leanne E. Palmer recently obtained a court order discharging a $250,000 construction lien on behalf of her client, the general contractor.  The construction lien, which the Court inferred was the product of the popular lien processing service, was riddled with irregularities and the Court found it failed to meet the basic requirements of Florida’s Construction Lien Law.  Although the construction lien at issue tried to circumvent the express requirements of § 713.08, Florida Statutes—including that the lien be (1) prepared by the lienor, its employee, or attorney, and (2) sworn to by the lienor or its agent acquainted with the facts sworn to—by having the signatory claim to be the agent of the lienor, Ms. Palmer ensured the Court saw through the charade pointing out, for example, the purported agent could not even spell the lienor’s name correctly and arguing the lien fundamentally does not comply with Florida law.    

Notably, the Court found the preparation and execution of construction liens by third-party entities such as the popular lien processing company at issue here, actually violates Florida law.  In fact, the Court held “the preparation of a construction lien constitutes the practice of law and therefore, preparation by anyone who is not an employee of [lienor] or [lienor’s] attorney constitutes the unlicensed practice of law,” relying on Florida Supreme Court precedence. 

Ultimately, the Court discharged the construction lien exposing the lienor to liability for the general contractor’s attorneys’ fees and costs.  While there may be many construction experts in Florida, there are few construction law experts (only 439 to be exact as certified by the Florida Bar).  When it comes to your legal needs, trust the experts.  We’ll provide you peace of mind knowing your rights are protected and your obligations complied with. 

Kirwin Norris, P.A., with offices in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Melbourne, and, Vero Beach, concentrates its legal practice in construction law and is dedicated solely to representing clients in the construction industry.

By Leanne E Palmer