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Recording of a preliminary notice with the county clerk is not required by law. Recording is optional. See Cal. Civil Code Section 8214 ("Each person who has served a preliminary notice may file the preliminary notice with the county recorder. [emphasis added]" Notice need only be served on the general, owner and construction lender, if any. If you recorded the preliminary notice, the act does not create a lien against the property. Consequently, there is nothing to release. However, if the general or owner wants a release, then there is no legal reason to refuse -- it's simply good will, given that you weren't required to record the preliminary notice, so the general and/or owner may be concerned about its effect on the property's title.
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There's no reason. In fact, Cal. Civil Code Section 8214(e) provides:
As can be observed in subdivision (e), the preliminary notice is not a recordable document and does not operate to provide constructive notice. No duty is imposed on anyone. It's simply a means of facilitating other notice mailings by the county clerk related to the property.
You don't have to sign, and refusing to pay on another job because of your refusal to sign the release is a breach of contract (unless your contract with the general requires otherwise).
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