Although a subcontractor, supplier or materialman can only make “one” recovery of money they are owed, they may be able to proceed under more than one legal theory in order to increase their chances of prevailing in their lawsuit. Quantum meruit or unjust enrichment is one such theory which may be closed to those entitled to file materialmen’s liens. The case Callahan v. Hall recently held that a subcontractor could not assert quantum meruit claim against homeowners but, rather, was limited to the remedies provided by the lien statute, where subcontractor had no direct contractual relationship with homeowners.
Thus, a materialman or subcontractor may not recover against an owner or general contractor with whom it has no contractual relationship, based on the theory of unjust enrichment or implied contract; rather, it is limited to the statutory remedies provided by Georgia’s lien statute. Thus, it is imperative that materialmen and suppliers timely file mechanics and materialmen’s liens in order to protect themselves and increase their likelihood of recovery.
What you think about this limitation on a subcontractor or a materialman’s ability to file a claim for unjust enrichment?