How Long Does a Contractor Have to File a Sworn Statement (i.e. Lien) on a Public Project?

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Introduction

In the construction industry, it is common for contractors to say Lien instead of sworn statement of amount due on public project. While the effect is essentially the same, the difference is contractors cannot seize and sell public property if they are not paid. Thus, the mechanism for filing a “lien” on a public project is called a sworn statement.

While the Public Works Act does not have any form requirements, Louisiana Revised Statute 38:2242 provides that a potential claimant has to file its sworn statement with the office of the recorder of mortgages for the parish where the work was done within forty-five days of the governing authority’s recordation of acceptance of the work.

Sworn Statement

The Sworn Statement can be a necessary tool to collect payment, but the claimant must usually file a lawsuit to resolve the matter.  Louisiana Revised Statute 38:2247 provides that an action to enforce a sworn statement must be brought against the contractor or surety within either one year from the registry of the acceptance of the work or of notice of default of the contractor.

Sometimes, it is even necessary to sue the owner directly.  If a public entity makes a final payment to the general contractor without deducting the total amount of all outstanding claims served on it or without obtaining a bond from the contractor, the awarding authority is liable for the amount of the claims.

Should you have any questions or you would like to discuss this issue in further detail, please do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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