Did you think that a subcontractor had to name a general contractor in a mechanic’s lien suit? I did. Did you think that nothing about this changed in the case where a Virginia mechanic’s lien was “bonded off” pursuant to Va. Code Section 43-71? I did.
Well, a recent Virginia Supreme Court case, Synchronized Construction Services Inc. v. Prav Lodging LLC, seems to at least create some doubt as to whether the a general contractor is a “necessary” party to a lawsuit by a subcontractor in the case where a bond is posted for release of a mechanic’s lien.
In Prav Lodging, the facts were a bit unusual. The day after the mechanic’s lien was recorded by Synchronized Construction Services, Inc. (“Synchronized”) the construction manager, Paris Development Group, the construction manager and de facto general contractor, went out of business. Despite this fact, and after the lien was bonded off, Synchronized sued to enforce the lien and for breach of contract against Paris. The wrinkle here is that Synchronized was unable to serve several defendants, among them Paris, within one year of filing suit as required by Virginia statute. In the Circuit Court, the financing bank moved to dismiss the suit for failure to serve necessary parties. The Circuit Court dismissed the breach of contract count but refused to dismiss the mechanic’s lien count on this basis.