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Alan Cohen

Email Can Satisfy Massachusetts Mechanic’s Lien Written Contract Requirements

MULTIPLE DOCUMENTS SATISFY THE MECHANICS LIEN LAW’S REQUIREMENT OF A WRITTEN CONTRACT

The Mechanic’s Lien definition of what is a written contract has broadened since 1997. Even if you don’t have a specific written document signed by you and the property owner, general contractor or subcontractor, don’t give up.  You may still be able to take advantage of the Massachusetts Mechanics Lien Statute.

In Clean Properties, Inc. v. Carol Riselli, Superior Court Judge Salinger held that an email acceptance to a written contract constitutes a “written contract” pursuant to the Massachusetts Mechanics Lien law.  The court specifically stated that “[n]othing in the mechanic’s lien statute requires a physical signature” on a piece of paper rather than an acceptance of written terms by an electronic signature sent by email. The court noted that “[n]ow that Massachusetts has adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, it is clear that a contract is formed when someone accepts a written offer by email, and that such a written contract is enforceable under the laws of the Commonwealth”.

The court applied the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act because the course of dealings between the parties showed that they agreed to do business via email

Although a single “notice of contract” contract relating to a particular project is preferable to satisfy the Mechanics Lien requirements, the court’s decision shows the flexibility available to “create” a written contract from various writings, including emails.

We focus on commercial collections and construction law and routinely prepare and enforce mechanics liens.  For a free 30 minute consultation, please call 508-620-6900 or email Alanmcohen@collections-law.com.

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