Construction Lien Errors

Construction Lien Errors & Omissions

In Premier Finishes, Inc. v. Maggirias, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order which discharged a claim of lien because the trial court failed to find any prejudice to the owner due to the defective lien.

Premier Finishes, under the Fictitious name of PFI Construction, entered into a construction contract with the Soulos Family Trust.  Maggirias, the trustee of the Soulos Family Trust terminated Premier Finishes and failed to pay the outstanding balance due.  Premier Finishes recorded a claim of lien on the property and then sued to foreclose the lien.

Maggirias filed a motion to dismiss alleging the lien was filed by Premier Finishes but the contract was entered into by PFI Construction.  The trial court granted the motion to dismiss finding that since the contract was in the name of PFI Construction and there was no alleged or proven contract in the name of Premier Finishes, then Premier Finishes could not lien the Project.

On appeal, the Second District reversed.  The Second District reasoned that “it is true that a construction lien can only arise when a valid contract exists between the parties.”  Additionally, a contract entered into by a fictitious name is valid and enforceable.  The court went on to address section 713.08(4)(a) which allows a contractor to enforce a claim of lien even if there are errors in the lien, as long as the owner has not been adversely affected by such omission or error.  In this case, the trial court made no finding of prejudice or that it was adversely affected, therefore the Second District quashed the trial court’s order discharging the lien.