Justices OK award of attorney fees in mechanic’s lien suit

August 26, 2015

Subcontractors who worked on an IMAX movie theater in Portage and had to foreclose mechanic’s liens in order to get paid are entitled to legal fees, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled, affirming a Porter Superior trial court.
“The question before us is whether, under Indiana’s mechanic’s lien statute, lienholders are entitled to collect attorney’s fees incurred in foreclosing upon their liens from a party who posts a surety bond securing the liens.  By the statute’s plain language, under the circumstances our answer is yes,” Justice Steven David wrote for the court.

A trial court ultimately awarded Wilson Iron Works attorney fees of more than $355,000 and Fostcorp Heating and Cooling fees of more than $97,000, according to the record.

In resolving a question on an issue of first impression, that court looked to the language of I.C. 32-28-3-11 as well as the surety bond the general contractor had taken on the project. Those both specified an award of attorney fees would be required if the mechanic’s liens were foreclosed.

The case is Goodrich Quality Theaters, Inc., and Roncelli, Inc. v. Fostcorp Heating and Cooling, Inc., Wilson Iron Works, Inc., and Johnson Carpet, Inc., 64S03-1504-PL-227.


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