Saturday, January 14, 2006

Friday's opinions from the Virginia Supreme Court

To get into the latest round of Virginia Supreme Court decisions, start with the court's synopsis page and Steve Emmert's website.

I must confess that the most interesting case to me so far is the mechanic's lien issue in Britt Construction, Inc. v. Magazzine Clean, LLC, where the Court held Va. Code § 43-4 "requires that a general contractor, as a condition of perfecting a mechanic’s lien, contemporaneously file with the memorandum of lien a 'certification' that a copy of the memorandum has been mailed to the property owner."

One of the interesting things about is to eliminate some of the high-stakes ambiguity about how to perfect a mechanic's lien, the General Assembly has codified a "safe harbor" form, which was was nonetheless relegated to this footnote in the Court's opinion:

"The absence of any reference to a certification of mailing in the 'safe harbor' form of Code § 43-5 does not affect our analysis of Code § 43-4. That form addresses only the sufficiency of a memorandum of lien and affidavit filed under Code § 43-4. Also, the 'safe harbor' forms of Code §§ 43-8 and –10 are not relevant to the issue before us because they pertain to subcontractors and to persons furnishing labor or materials to a subcontractor and, thus, do not affect the unambiguous requirements imposed on a general contractor by Code § 43-4."

Unless my memory is mistaken, I've seen a circuit court rule the other way on the issue of this appeal.

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