DeKalb County is a thriving area of metropolitan Atlanta; the downtown is filed with great restaurants, it is the home to Emory University and several museums, and the construction forecast is very optimistic. Unfortunately, when people provide services, materials and labor to DeKalb-area construction projects, they occasionally do not receive payment. The construction lawyers at the Cobb law Group can help you get paid! Since the founding of our firm in metro Atlanta in 1992, we have filed countless materialman lien claim and prosecuted as many payment bond claims (Miller Act, Little Miller Act and private surety bond claims) throughout Decatur and DeKalb County.
Our clients rely upon us to help them understand and navigate the tricky world of Georgia’s lien laws and the state and federal bonding requirements. We represent a host of business located in DeKalb County, but we also represent an ever larger number of subcontractors and material suppliers from all over the state and the country who have work on area construction sites or supplied equipment and materials to project located in DeKalb County. In fact, our reputation has grown beyond metro Atlanta and, now, we file liens and perfect payment bond claims in all 159 counties of Georgia. We are not a “general practice” law firm; we focus our practice on construction law with a significant lien and bond practice. If you are looking for a Georgia lawyer to help you collect on a construction project, then please contact us today!
We can help you file your construction liens, make your payment bond claims, enforce your rights as a subcontractor or material suppliers anywhere in the State of Georgia or in DeKalb County including Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee,Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville
Druid Hills, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake and Stone Mountain
An Actual Case Study About Filing a Materialman’s Lien in DeKalb County, GA:
Every legal matter is distinct, but the construction law attorneys at the Cobb Law Group work very diligently to enforce their clients’ rights throughout the state of Georgia including filing and enforcing liens and payment bond claims in Decatur, Georgia and throughout DeKalb County. Because each case is different, results naturally vary, but we hope that you will benefit from the following recent case study regarding the filing of a claim of lien in DeKalb County, Georgia, the two lawsuits required to enforce the lien, and the resulting payment in full to our client.
Background: The Cobb Law Group represents many nationally recognized material suppliers and specialty contractors throughout Georgia including one of the largest heavy equipment suppliers in the country; prior to sending the matter to us, this equipment rental company had supplied rental equipment on a private construction project located in Decatur in DeKalb County, Georgia. Since our client was a material supplier who was providing equipment to a subcontractor on the project, they were required to send a Notice to Owner and a Notice to Contractor within the first thirty days that they began supplying the equipment to the subcontractor. Because our client had met their obligation to send the notices, they had successfully preserved their right to file a materialmen’s lien or payment bond if that became necessary.
Filing of Lien in Decatur, DeKalb County, GA: Unfortunately, the subcontractor who rented the equipment from our client failed to pay our client. Since this was a private construction project, our client asked us to prepare and file a materialmen’s lien (sometimes referred to as mechanic’s lien, construction lien, contractor’s lien or supplier’s lien). Liens in Georgia must be filed within 90 days from the last day in which the lien claimant actually worked on the project. Since our client had given our materialmen lien attorneys ample time in which to meet the deadline, we were able to promptly file the claim of lien in DeKalb County and send the owner of the real estate the statutorily required notice of the lien filing.
Enforcing the Lien: In Georgia, prior to foreclosing a lien, a “legal action” must be commenced within 365 days of the date in which the lien was filed; thus, our construction lawyers filed a lawsuit against our client’s debtor in the State Court of DeKalb County before the expiration of this deadline based upon a breach of contract claim. Fortunately, prior to renting the equipment to its customer, our client had also secured a personal guarantee, thus, our lawsuit also sought damages from the individual guarantor who had failed to perform under the terms of his guaranty agreement. Both the corporate debtor and its guarantor resided out-of state, so our diligent staff contacted the appropriate authorities and perfected service of the lawsuit on both defendants in the foreign jurisdiction and waited for their response.
Filing Notice of Action: While we waited for the defendants to be served out-of-state and for their response, the Cobb Law Group made certain that our client complied with Georgia’s lien laws including the requirement that within 30 days of fling the legal action, the lien claimant file a Notice of Filing of Action for Claim on Mechanics and Materialmen’s Liens in the real estate records in the county where the lien was filed (in this case, DeKalb County). Timely filing the lawsuit and timely filing the Notice of Action perfected our client’s lien.
Judgment in Favor of our Client: Neither the corporate defendant nor the guarantor answered our lawsuit although they were properly served by their local authorities; thus, we successfully moved the DeKalb County State Court for a Default Judgment in favor of our client; the court awarded our client (i) all of the past-due rentals owed to our client, (ii) the accrued interest, (iii) the attorney fees, and (iv) the court costs associated with filing the lawsuit to perfect the lien. A FiFa (also called a judgment lien) was issued and duly recorded in DeKalb County, Georgia.
Lawsuit to Foreclose the Lien: Although our client could have sought to collect the money it was owed from either (or both!) of the judgment debtors, we recognized that it would be difficult since both defendants resided out-of-state. Thus, we discussed the options with our client and decided to enforce the lien by foreclosing upon it. Consequently, we filed the appropriate foreclosure action in Henry County, Georgia which was the legal residence of the owner of the real estate against which our client had placed their lien. Similar to the underlying lawsuit, the real property owner did not file an answer to our lawsuit; thus, the State Court of Henry County granted our client’s motion for a default judgment. The award in favor of our client included (i) an award equal to the original DeKalb County, GA judgment, (ii) additional accrued interest, (iii) attorney’s fees, (iv) the costs associated with the Henry County action, and (v) most importantly, the creation of a special lien against this defendant’s real estate in DeKalb County. The special lien was created and a FiF(a second judgment lien) a was issued by the clerk of court. We promptly filed both the Henry County judgment and the special lien in the DeKalb County, Georgia real estate records in preparation for foreclosing the lien.
Payment in Full: After consulting our client and performing a full title search of the real estate against which the lien had been placed, our construction lawyers began preparing the proper notices in order to foreclose the claim of lien on the front steps of the DeKalb County Courthouse. As we were beginning the process, one of our construction lawyers received a telephone call from an out-of-state lawyer representing the real property owner. He informed us that the real estate owners had a contract to sell their DeKalb County real estate and planned to pay our client in full at the closing table from the sale proceeds. We discussed this with our client, and we agreed to postpone the foreclosure proceeding for thirty days in hopes that the real estate transaction would occur and our client would voluntarily be paid the full amount of their debt and costs. Before the expiration of this deadline, the real property owner’s closing attorney wired the full settlement funds to our escrow account which was duly forwarded to our client. Needless to say, we canceled the lien in DeKalb County, and we marked the FiFas as satisfied and cancelled them in both Henry and DeKalb Counties. Payment in full of the original claim and lien and all of the costs was a tremendous benefit to our client and assured them that all of the hard work paid off–literally!
These results do not guaranty that your results will be similar; however, if you are filing a materialmen’s lien anywhere in the State of Georgia including Decatur or DeKalb County, Georgia, please contact the construction lawyers at the Cobb Law Group to discuss your options and opportunities.
Due to the difficulty in properly drafting and filing a materialmen lien, it is important to have an experienced Georgia lawyer prepare and file your liens to ensure all requirements of the Georgia lien laws are met. Liens prepared by legal document services, which are not Georgia lawyers, may not be enforceable. We are Georgia construction lawyers with experience filing and enforcing our client’s lien claims.
Some Useful Contact Information for Filing Materialmen’s Liens at the DeKalb County Superior Court:
Listed below is contact information for the DeKalb County Clerk of Court for any questions you may have prior to contacting a lawyer (please note this information may change without notice):
Clerk of Court’s Address:
DeKalb County Superior Court Clerk
ATTN: Materialmen’s Lien Filing Desk
556 N. McDonough St.
Judicial Tower Annex Room G-130
Decatur, GA 30030
Clerk of Court’s Telephone Number:
Mechanic’s Lien Filing Fees:
$5.00 for the first page and $2.00 for each additional page
The information contained on this website is for information purposes only; you are directed to consult with your attorney regarding the risks involved in filing mechanics and materialmen’s liens as well as all other aspects of lien filing including, but not limited to proper forms, conditions precedent, legal descriptions, notice requirements, and the statutes of limitations. Nothing contained herein creates an attorney-client relationship between the Cobb Law Group and you. Furthermore, no warranties, expressed or implied, are provided for the data herein, its use or interpretation. Please contact us for further information.