When you’re dealing with construction projects and contracts, whether you’re a contractor or a subcontractor, invoicing and payment of invoices are critical parts of the process. If you’re the invoicing party, you want to ensure you’ve done everything necessary to ensure you get paid what you’re owed. If you’re the party receiving the invoice(s), you want to be sure you’re paying only what you’re legally obligated to pay. Either way, advice and representation from a knowledgeable Atlanta commercial contracts lawyer can go a long way toward maximizing the protection of your business interests and your rights.
Unpaid invoices — and a lien waiver — were at the center of one recent federal court contract dispute here in North Georgia. To set the stage, the parties were: a Houston-based contractor specializing in “engineering, procurement, and construction” services and its subcontractor, a Missouri-based site development company. The work centered around a construction project just outside Savannah. The parties’ contracts called for the subcontractor to provide pipes, rack modules, process modules, and pipe insulation, as well as to install certain pipe racks and process modules.
Along the way, the subcontractor submitted roughly $5.2 million worth of invoices for which it never received payment. The contractor asserted a procedural basis for its argument that it didn’t owe the invoiced amounts. The subcontractor failed to “file a claim of lien or affidavit of nonpayment within sixty days of signing a lien waiver,” which was a statutory requirement. The contractor argued that the subcontractor’s failure to file that notice effectively extinguished its right to receive payment on those invoices.
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