Absent a lien, a subcontractor generally has no recourse over an owner if it fails to preserve and perfect its lien rights.

Date: December 2022

A recent motions decision from Associate Justice Wiebe applied established law which states that a subcontractor has no recourse over an owner if it fails to preserve and perfect its lien rights, including recourse for a claim against the owner for unjust enrichment and quantum meruit.

In this short decision, a subcontractor’s motion to amend its statement of claim to add claims against the owner for unjust enrichment and quantum meruit was dismissed.

Associate Justice Wiebe’s reasons for dismissing the subcontractor’s motion included the following:

  • Amendments to pleadings under Rule 26 must be legally tenable and must be capable of surviving a Rule 21 motion.
  • The Construction Act is a complete code concerning the rights of parties supplying services and materials to construction projects. For subcontractors, the rights are in contract, statutory trust, and construction lien. The lien right is the only one a subcontractor has against the owner and is limited to the owner’s holdback obligations.
  • The existence of the Construction Act has been found to be a juristic reason for enrichment by the owner on a claim by the subcontractor. Therefore, a claim in unjust enrichment by the subcontractor against an owner cannot succeed.

Click here for a link to the decision.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top