Aug 3

A contractor or supplier often extends credit to an owner by first doing the work and then seeking payment.  The contractor/supplier has the protection of filing a lien for the failure to pay.  Prior case law provided that if the contractor/supplier won a “net judgment” – most any amount under its claim of lien, it was considered to be the “prevailing party” and was therefore awarded attorney fees.  The Supreme Court, however, has just ruled that the prevailing party must be determined by who won the “significant issues.”  This essentially will open up the door to a second trial on the issue of attorney fees.  It also takes away any leverage the contractor/supplier had for collecting its fees.  The ruling is fair, however, for the homeowner who may have significant issues with the contractor or supplier.