Posts Tagged ‘Seth Smiley’

Mediation! New Service Available at Wolfe Law

Seth J. Smiley, partner at Wolfe Law Group, LLC and author of is now a formally trained mediator. New Orleans just hosted the AAAU’s (American Arbitration Association University), Essential Skills for the New Mediator workshop in downtown, hosted by Neil Carmichael.

Why would parties want to mediate a dispute instead of going to court? That answer is easy, yet has many factors. The most important are that mediation is less expensive and much more efficient compared to litigation. But the most important factor is that the parties control their own outcome, rather than a group of strangers (jury).

So if you are in a dispute and are looking for an economical, logical and swift conclusion that is mutually agreeable between you and your adversary, then mediation may be just what you are looking for. Contact the Wolfe Law Group, LLC for more details.

Posted in:     About Our Services, Arbitration & ADR, Business Matters, California, Collections, Construction News, Disputes, Green Building, Insurance, Litigation, Louisiana, Oregon, Washington  /  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,   /   1 Comment

Louisiana Suppliers – Extra Notice Needed for Lien Rights

Over the past holiday season, I was at a Christmas party discussing with a friend of mine who runs an electrical supply company here in South Louisiana, the intricacies of notice provisions before a company like his can file a lien on a private project. Others party-goers probably thought our conversation boring, but we were intrigued. This conversation got me thinking that I should report to the supply world what my friend did not understand…

Here at the Wolfe Law Group we love liens. We file them for clients and recommend them to all others out there as a tool to preserve rights if, and often when, funds dry up and you are not paid on a construction project. Part of the privileged class under the Louisiana Private Works Act (La R.S. 9:4801 et al), are suppliers.

There are two types of suppliers protected under this act. Suppliers who lease equipment to contractors (“Lessors”) and suppliers who provide the materials to be used in the project (“Suppliers”).

EQUIPMENT RENTAL (see La R.S. Art. 9:4802(G)(1))

For Lessors, these companies need to deliver a copy of the lease agreement to the property owner and contractor within ten (10) days of when the leased equipment is delivered to the site. This notice is required as in most states to put all relevant parties on notice of potential future claims. So for companies who deliver equipment to job-sites as a rental, it is PARAMOUNT that you send out this notice so that you can file a valid lien after not getting paid. Then with your properly filed lien you can go after the party you have a lease agreement with and the property owner, general contractor and as a last resort you can foreclose on the property! Very strong rights indeed.

MATERIAL SUPPLIERS (see La R.S. Art. 9:4802(G)(2-3))

Next, for supply houses, such as plumbing materials, and electrical supplies – these companies also need to send out a notice to the property owner and the general contractor after delivery of goods. The Supplier needs to send notice of non-payment to the owner at least ten (10) days before filing a lien. Notice needs to be sent by certified mail return receipt and needs to have the name, address of the Supplier, description of materials provided, description of the property and the total amount owed, plus interest and fees. Also the Supplier needs to put the hiring party, general contractor and owner on notice of the items list above within seventy-five (75) days of the last month that the materials were delivered to the project via certified mail return receipt – or no later that then lien period. Strategically it may be best to send out one notice after the goods are delivered to all the parties above with the required information, just to preserve the right to file your lien.

These notice provisions can be tedious and if not followed to the letter of the law, will result in an invalid lien. The notice practice should become a staple in the administration of the aforementioned types of companies.  My office constantly invalidates liens that were not filed correctly. We also file a number of notices and liens which are filed correctly. General contractors and owners pay lien holders typically first because of the added security.

Bottom line – all of the successful rental and supply companies have these notice mechanisms in place. If you are a company who plans on competing in this arena, then following notice laws is always a smart plan.

Other resources on the topic:,,,

Posted in:     Construction News, Filing Requirements, Louisiana, Mechanics Lien  /  Tags: , , , , , , ,   /   Leave a comment

Tropical Storm Lee – Prepare for Insurance Claims

Contractors and property owners should be very knowledgable of the claims process after a natural disaster. Over the Labor Day weekend the New Orleans metro area, along with southern Louisiana experienced high winds and double-digit rainfall totals due to Tropical Storm Lee.

Contractors who have equipment, property and unfinished work need to report any flood, wind or wind driven rain damage to your general liability insurer in a timely fashion so that you may collect reimbursement for damages sustained from this storm. Your insurer will assign a claims specialist to assess the damage and this person is who you will work with to obtain reimbursement. Be sure to read the policy to make sure you follow all the specific guidelines, otherwise your insurer may use this against you as an excuse not to timely pay up on the claim.

Homeowners in south Louisiana should be well versed in the drill of making claims against your homeowners insurance. This, too is a situation whereby you must read the policy to make sure you follow the set guidelines and timely file a proof of loss. If the insurance company does not value your damage to a level where you are satisfied, then you may want to hire a public/private adjuster by searching the Louisiana Dept of Insurance – Public Adjusters search or reaching out to an reputable firm such as Louisiana Adjusters. The final step is to hire an attorney to escalate your claim.

Due to Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav, firms like the Wolfe Law Group have valuable experience with handling these matters. The mere hiring of an attorney will escalate your claim to another level within the insurance hierarchy and depending on your claim, it may render more effective results.

Remember that you typically have 60 days to file a satisfactory proof of loss and you have one year to file suit against the insurer, both from the date of the loss.  It is important to take photographs and video if possible before clean up to maintain evidence of your loss. Another important tip is to keep good records of invoices and receipts of all work performed on your repair. The insured (contractor or property owner) has a duty to mitigate its damages, so do what you can to prevent damage from getting worse once the storm has passed.

Remember to consult with an attorney or your insurance agent when reviewing the terms of your policy. The policy is the set of rules by which you and the insurer operate when making claims. Do not fight for your claim alone against your insurance company, hire an an attorney who can help you navigate the claim as well as the reconstruction of your property in an efficient manner. Whether you are a contractor or a property owner, contact Seth Smiley with the Wolfe Law Group to discuss your Tropical Storm Lee claims so that you get the results you deserve.

Posted in:     Collections, Construction News, Damages, Insurance, Litigation  /  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   /   1 Comment

Your Mechanics Lien Resource Treasure Trove

Mechanics Liens used to be a cornerstone topic on this blog; meaning I would write an article about filings, foreclosing and/or litigating a mechanics lien quite frequently. In fact, over the years I sort of consider myself a “lien guy.”  Insofar as construction law goes, mechanic lien and state or federal bond claims has sort of become my thing.

So, where has all of the mechanic lien posts gone?!

If you’re a reader of this blog but not my other blog – The Construction Lien Blog – you may be wondering.  But as you can gather from the blog’s title, a few years ago I created a separate blog focused on lien issues across the country, and post very regularly there on the topic.

As I exhaust the subject on that blog, and don’t to duplicate postings from there over here, most of my mechanic lien and bond claim talk is done on the Construction Lien Blog.  So, if you’re interest in lien laws (and if you are a construction participant or construction law person, lien laws are super important), I recommend you take a look at this other blog.

To give you a more direct path to relevant information, here are the articles posted on the construction lien laws in the states where Wolfe Law Group practices.

Also, be sure to check out these other resources providing through the lien and notice preparation and management company I founded in 2007, Zlien:

Posted in:     Around The Web, From The Experts, Mechanics Lien, Miller Act Claims, State Bond Claims  /  Tags: , , , , , , ,   /   2 Comments