ILNews

Builder allowed to foreclose on lien

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals found a Lake Superior judge erred in denying a construction company’s request to foreclose on a mechanic’s lien after the client withheld a final payment, claiming faulty work.

Quadri Enterprises LLC, owned by Dr. Kamartaj Quadri, hired Ponziano Construction Services to build a medical office on the site of a pre-existing structure in Crown Point. The contract called for Quadri to pay Ponziano $144,900. After executing the contract, the two agreed to an addendum to make changes to the original plan that added $500 to the contract.

Quadri agreed to pay Ponziano through a construction loan from Wells Fargo. It made the first two payments, but withheld the last payment because of concerns over quality of workmanship, including poor painting and countertop installation. Ponziano then filed a mechanic’s lien for $45,549.43 and filed a complaint alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment and sought to foreclose on the lien and attorney fees. Quadri filed a counterclaim for breach of contract, slander of title, and breach of implied warranty of good workmanship.

The trial court awarded Ponziano $16,000 and attorney fees of $8,000. Ponziano appealed, arguing it is still owed $53,783 absent reduction. Quadri sought to reduce the amount owed by claiming damages due to delays in construction and defective work. But Dr. Kamartaj Quadri caused many of the delays by moving into the office before construction was complete and through her failure to file plans and designs with the state and city, Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote in Ponziano Construction Services, Inc. v. Quadri Enterprises, LLC, 45A05-1112-CC-661.

Quadri presented evidence that the cost of fixing the defective work was $4,800, so that’s the only amount the company is entitled to as a set-off. The appellate court found $48,983.43 to be the appropriate amount owed to Ponziano: the $145,400 contract price, less the $91,616.57 already paid, minus the set-off.

Because Quadri owes the builder $48,983.43, an amount in excess of the mechanic’s lien, Ponziano may foreclose on the entire amount of the lien, the judges held. They remanded with instructions to the trial court to enter judgment in favor of Ponziano for $48,483.43, order sale of the property subject to the $45,549.43 lien, and determine the existence, extent and outcome of a potential priority dispute between Ponziano and Wells Fargo.

The appellate court upheld the $8,000 in attorney fees, finding that Ponziano is only entitled to recover the fees relating to its action to foreclose on the mechanic’s lien.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

ADVERTISEMENT