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Builder allowed to foreclose on lien

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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.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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