Archive for September 2015

Illinois Now Allows “Bonding Over” Mechanics’ Liens

September 28, 2015

Mechanics’ liens can be a powerful tool for unpaid contractors. Mechanics liens allow those who have supplied labor or materials to improve a property, but have not been paid, to file a lien against the property to secure payment. A lien can create obstacles to selling or re-financing a property, as mechanics’ liens often take priority over other interests (e.g., mortgages). As such, mechanics’ liens help ensure fair payment for rendered services.

However, a recent amendment to the Illinois Mechanics’ Lien Act will go into effect on January 1, 2016, providing a tool for owners to remove the lien encumbrance from a property’s title. The amendment – enacted as Public Act 99-0179 on July 29, 2015 – will permit owners (or others with an interest in the property subject to a mechanics’ lien) to “bond over” the lien ­– that is, to substitute the lien with a surety bond. For property owners with legitimate payment disputes, the new law provides a mechanism to clear title without lengthy litigation. By substituting a bond in place of the lien, the claim is separated from the property itself, permitting the property to be sold free and clear of the claim. As such, a mechanics’ lien claimant loses its interest in the property; its only claim is against the bond.

The amendment does provide, however, a number of requirements that must be met before a lien can be bonded over. These requirements are designed to ensure lien claimants are not prejudiced by the substitution. For instance, the amount of the surety bond must be equal to 175% of the lien claim and must be issued by a highly-rated issuer. In addition, the amendment imposes a mandatory attorneys’ fees provision. This provision should discourage bonding over of liens arising from unfounded payment disputes.

For a more in depth discussion of the requirements of the new amendment, see Laurie & Brennan’s Summer 2015 eNewsletter article.

Toliopoulos, Shifrin, and Brenner Recognized As “Emerging Lawyers”

September 8, 2015

Laurie & Brennan Partners Bill Toliopoulos, Chad Shifrin and Dan Brenner have been recognized as “Emerging Lawyers” by Leading Lawyers publications.   Emerging Lawyers are those who are age 40 or under or have been practicing law for 10 years or less and have proven themselves professional, ethical and experienced at an early point in their legal career.  The distinction of being selected as an “Emerging Lawyer” has been earned by fewer than 2% of all lawyers licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois.

The Leading Lawyers research is based on an extensive peer review process. Survey respondents cannot nominate themselves or other lawyers at their own firms.

We congratulate Bill, Chad and Dan on their selection as Emerging Lawyers and look forward to their continued successes.


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