Pennsylvania Supreme Court Unanimously Holds That Union Members Are Not Subcontractors for Purposes of Pa. Mechanics' Lien Law

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Unanimously Holds That Union Members Are Not Subcontractors for Purposes of Pa. Mechanics' Lien Law

On April 17, 2014, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued a decision eagerly awaited by owners, developers, contractors and others involved in the construction industry.

Interpreting Pennsylvania's Mechanics' Lien Law of 1963 (the "Act"), the state Supreme Court unanimously held in Bricklayers of Western Pennsylvania Combined Funds, Inc., Appellee, v. Scott's Development Company, Appellant, and Laborers' Combined Funds of Western Pennsylvania, et al., Appellees, v. Scott's Development Company, Appellant, [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers], that union workers (employees of the primary contractor) were not "subcontractors" as that term is defined in the Act, [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers], and that trustees of the union's employee benefits trust funds ("trust funds") were not entitled to file mechanic's lien claims on the employees' behalf for unpaid contributions to the trust funds.

This decision reverses the state Superior Court's decision and reinstates the trial court's order sustaining Scott's Development's preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer and striking the mechanic's liens filed by the trustees.

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