Attorney Paul Zimmer Quoted in Article Regarding Construction Lien Waivers

Recently, Attorney Paul Zimmer was interviewed by a construction law reporter from Levelset regarding his role in the case of Great Lakes Excavating, Inc. v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., Appeal No. 2019-AP-2095 (Wis. Ct. App. 2021). OCHDL attorneys Paul Zimmer, Steven Slawinski, and Jessica Haskell represented the property owner in the case, Riverworks City Center, LLC.

Great Lakes, the contractor, signed a lien waiver form that stated it was waiving all of its lien rights, but had written the word “partial” at the top of the document. The trial court and the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled that the lien waiver constituted a full and final waiver of all of the contractor’s lien rights, despite the contractor writing “partial” on the form.

Attorney Zimmer was quoted in the Levelset article, stating:

“In our view, this case involved a straightforward application of an unambiguous statute, which required the contractor to clearly specify any lien rights not being waived.”

“The contractor did not specify any lien rights not being waived, so the court of appeals, like the trial court, was correct to conclude that the contractor waived all of its lien rights in its written lien waiver.”

This case is a good reminder to review the terms of your lien waivers carefully before signing them and, when intending to issue only a partial lien waiver, to specifically and expressly limit the waiver to only the particular portion of such labor, services, materials, plans, or specifications for which the lien rights are being waived, like the Wisconsin Statutes require.

If you have questions relating to construction lien waivers, please contact Steven Slawinski or Paul Zimmer.

Read full article here.