Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oklahoma Court Provides Clarification

March 31, 2010

The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals recently construed and provided clarity to the timing requirements under Oklahoma’s Pre-Lien Notice statute, which applies to certain lien claimants other than the original contractor. The current section states:

“Prior to the filing of a lien statement pursuant to Section 143.1 of Title 42 of the Oklahoma Statutes, but no later than seventy-five (75) days after the date of supply of material, services, labor, or equipment in which the claimant is entitled or may be entitled to lien rights, the claimant shall send to the last-known address of the original contractor and owner of the property a pre-lien notice pursuant to the provisions of this section.” Okla. Stat. tit. 42, § 142.6(B)(1).

In the case of Izza Robert Jones Jr., d/b/a Professional Plumbing Serv. v. Purcell Invest., LLC, 2010 OK CIV APP 15, --- P.3d ----, 2009 WL 5862436 (Okla. Ct. Civ. App. 2009), the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals agreed with the plaintiff/lien claimant that the statute’s timing requirements were ambiguous as a matter of law. Id. at ¶ 5. The court stated that “[w]hether the 75 days begins after services or materials are first supplied, after they are last supplied, or sometime in between, is not clear.” Id. In analyzing the purpose of Oklahoma’s statutorily created lien rights in concert with the notice provisions designed to protect the rights of property owners, the court concluded that to be timely, a pre-lien notice must be provided to the original contractor and owner of the property “no later than 75 days after labor, services, material or equipment have last been supplied by the lien claimant.” Id. At ¶ 19 (emphasis added).

The chapter is being updated to reflect the clarity provided by this decision.

A. Scott McDaniel, Esquire (Contributing Author)

McDaniel, Longwell, Acord & Kroll, PLLC

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