A recent Superior Court case prohibited a sub-subcontractor from recovering pre-judgment interest on its mechanics’ lien claim upon which it obtained a judgment. Although much of the case was spent dealing with the applicability of the recent amendments to the mechanics’ lien statute, the Court did prohibit the recovery of pre-judgment interest. The Court relied upon its prior ruling holding that interest should only be awarded at the statutory rate of 6% and that it should only be applied form the date judgment was entered. The Court also held that because the mechanics lien statute does not specifically address pre-judgment interest, under the Judicial Code, only interest on the judgment is recoverable. This apparently holds true even if the contract, upon which the mechanics’ lien is based provides for interest on unpaid contract balances because the mechanics’ lien statute only provides for the recovery of labor and material. Items other than labor and material are more properly sought in an action for breach of contract if that contract authorizes the recovery of interest and other damages.
Alfred C. Maiello is the founding member of MBM and has represented area school districts as solicitor for 50 years. He counsels school districts and educational institutions on leading developments in school law and guiding them through their day-to-day and long-term challenges.