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3 Cell tower upgrades and took about a month. We were third tier contractors. the first tier was NSORO who contracted from AT&T. We finished the work in OCT. OF 2011. We received half of what is owed us.
I know you aren't going to be able to get my money for me all I need from you is guidance on how to proceed. Which state do I need to hire the attorney from and will I be able to recover attorney fees? Their nonpayment resulted in me losing my business. I'm trying to avoid numerous consultation fees. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks
Hello again. I'm truly sorry to hear about your situation. It's one that always makes me wonder how anybody survives in the commercial construction industry. You have three possible routes to collection. The first is filing a mechanics lien against the real estate on which you performed the upgrade work. The lien would be recorded in the state and county where the towers are situated. Mechanics lien law is state law, as opposed to federal or local ordinance law. Commercial mechanics lien laws are extremely complex and your situation would make it even more so because of the nature of your work. You would have to show that it added value to the property, and it's not exactly like installing mechanicals for a shopping center. Also, there are usually very strict time requirements on filing them. Legal fees are also recoverable IF a valid lien exists. The second route is a direct suit against the contractor who owes you. That suit can be filed in a court where the corporation is located. Most collection attorneys take them on contingency fees which would come from any amounts collected. If they haven't paid you because they are busted or soon to be so, you know what that means. The third, is to contact the general contractor and try to lien any payments that they still might owe your contractor. The good mechanics lien attorney (commercial) can advise you on points one and three. I wish you the best of luck.
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One last question, could I approach the State Attorney on this from a stand point of fraud? I signed a conditional Release Of Lien, the condition was my being paid five equal payments so they could get paid and in turn pay me. As I see it the conditions of the ROL have not been met so could it still be in effect?.
Generally, if the customer relies on the ROL and pays the main contractor, the customer can rely on the ROL and will be released from any liability to the sub who signed it. Fraud has not occurred unless you can prove that he contractor had you sign the ROL with out any present intent of paying you. That's nearly impossible to prove. Even so, it would be considered civil fraud and not criminal fraud which could bring in a prosecutor or Attorney General.
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