Monday, January 27, 2020

Collections: Timeliness of Mechanic's Lien

     The Prince William Circuit Court reviewed several interesting issues regarding mechanic's liens in the case of American Standard Homes Corp. v. Reinecke, Trustee
     In American Standard some of the replacement materials for the prefabricated homes were delivered to each of the six projects more than 90 days after the materials and "extras" designated in the respective material order contracts had been delivered, the time limitation for filing memoranda of mechanic's liens, specified in Virginia Code §43-4. The Court ruled that time began to run upon delivery of the material designated in the material order contracts and not from delivery of the replacement materials. The Court, in making its ruling, determined that the materials delivered under the purchase orders were not materials last furnished within the intendment of the perfection statute, thus, the six liens were not timely filed. 
     The seller of the prefab homes had argued that the material order contracts were "open-ended devices" and that, because "each contract contemplated both extras and multiple purchase orders," the materials acquired under purchase orders were, for purposes of the filing limitation prescribed by the perfection statute, materials last furnished under those contracts. The Court disagreed though, finding that each material order contract contained blank spaces beneath the word "Extras" in which the buyer listed the materials to be added to those designated in the "dry-in" and "trim" packages. Unlike the "Extras" listed in the material order contracts and included in the invoices issued when the two material packages were delivered, the "Extras" to be shipped C.O.D. under particularized purchase orders were articles which were "replacement materials" for those materials that after delivery, had been lost, damaged or stolen and were reordered. Neither the basic contract nor the material order contract required the buyer to purchase such "extras" from the seller; the buyer was free to contract with other materialmen for materials needed to replace those delivered earlier by the seller. In its purchase orders, the buyer offered to buy replacement parts from the seller. The seller accepted that offer by delivering the materials.
     The Court found that this was a contract, one separate and apart from the material order contract. The latter expressly provided that it was "THE COMPLETE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE PARTIES." When the seller delivered the materials designated as extras listed in the contract, it delivered all it had contracted to deliver. What it delivered under the contract were the materials last furnished within the intendment of the 90-day statutory limit for filing memorandum of mechanic's lien. The Court found that the record showed with respect to each of the six liens at issue that the limitation period had expired before the seller filed its memoranda. Accordingly, the liens were unenforceable.
     The lesson of American Standard - enforcement of creditor’s rights in construction law matters is a very complex and requires experienced counsel.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Creditors, Let's Talk about Foreclosures!

     Foreclosures. This is not a topic that most creditors wish to discuss. After all, if you get to this point your loan is delinquent and you are not having success getting your borrower to pay. When to take action and what action to take – these are important matters to discuss. We can help! 
     At Lafayette, Ayers & Whitlock PLC we represent holders of deeds of trust and help our clients evaluate their order of priority and equity cushion, as well as explore bankruptcy implications and collection strategies. We do this for first, second and subsequent deeds of trust, as well as equity lines and judgment liens (the last of which can be enforced through a Creditor’s Bill). 
     We do foreclosures all across the Commonwealth of Virginia. 
     Even if we are not your specified trustee in your deed of trust, we can prepare and record a deed of appointment of substitute trustee and protect your interests. 
     I invite you to please call me so that we can discuss your questions. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Creditors, Let’s Talk about Bankruptcy!

     Bankruptcy! This is not a topic that most creditors wish to discuss! However, with Judges still “reacting” to the economic downturn of the last few years, with bankruptcy filings on the rise, with the conversion of many Chapter 13 cases to Chapter 7, with the aggressive lawsuits filed by counsel for debtors for violations of consumer laws, with increasingly detrimental provisions in Chapter 13 plans, and, with the strict review of proofs of claim and the requirements for the same, we should talk! 
     In regard to proofs of claim, our local bankruptcy courts require that if you are alleging a security interest in the debtor’s principal residence, in addition to the proof of claim form, you must also file a completed form B 10 (Attachment A) setting out the principal due, interest due, late fees, returned check fees, attorney’s fees, escrow shortage, amount due to bring loan current, etc. In addition, each time the debtor becomes delinquent on their mortgage during the bankruptcy, you must file form B 10 (Supplement 2), setting out late charges and other expenses charged to the debt. In the event the debtor’s mortgage payment amount changes due to increase or decrease in interest rate, insurance premiums or real estate taxes, form B Supplement (1) will need to be filed.
     Obviously, this is a more complex and detailed filing, and, certainly, will be closely scrutinized. While you can file your own proofs of claim, we can also do it for you. 
     Creditors must be very careful to fully redact ALL “identifying data” (this includes procedure codes and/or other identifying treatment references for healthcare providers) on court filings to help protect debtors’ vital information from identity theft. Failure to do so will result in a court award of sanctions and attorney’s fees. Several local bankruptcy attorneys are reviewing all proofs of claim in their cases to spot possible violations. I have already had clients who have filed their own proofs of claim and been sued for violations. This is a very expensive problem. 
     Accordingly, I am still offering a “flat rate” fee for filing your proofs of claim and ask that you consider taking advantage of the same. In the end, I think that this will be a less costly and better alternative for you. I will file your first proof of claim in a case for a charge of $250.00. Second and subsequent pleadings for the same case will be billed at one half hour, and one quarter hour respectively. 
     I invite you to please call me so that we can discuss your questions. 

Monday, January 6, 2020

LAW Real Estate Matters

     Many of you have recently asked if I handle real estate work. The answer is YES! I do residential and commercial transactions – especially for Credit Unions. I handle first and second loans, as well as refinances, equity lines of credit, and foreclosures. I have four very experienced real estate paralegals (Donna Edmondson, Dwen Jenkins, Sandra Milburn, and Cindy Blaylock), who have been working in the real estate field for many years. 
     Unlike other attorneys and real estate settlement companies, I will always provide you with the real cost of your transaction in advance, not have “hidden costs” with different names buried in the settlement statement. 
     I invite you to please call me so that we can discuss your real estate needs.