Alabama Court Of Appeals Reiterates The Strict Requirements For Filing A Proper Materialman Lien


In a recent Alabama Civil Circuit Court of Appeals (“Court of Appeals”) decision, Gunther v. Carpet Systems of Huntsville, Inc., 2013 WL 5496178 (Ala. Civ. App. Oct. 4, 2013), the Court of Appeals highlighted the notice provision required to assert a materialman lien against the owner of a project. Specifically, the Court of Appeals noted that a contractor or subcontractor, providing supplies for a project, must give written notice to the owner of its services, including the price term, prior to furnishing the supplies to the project. Gunther, 2013 WL 5496178 at *7. Failure to give this notice to the owner prior to providing the supplies for the project, will render the materialman lien defective and unenforceable.

The relevant facts of this case began in the Spring of 2009, when the Gunther Family (“Gunthers”) hired Antioch Homes, LLC (“Antioch”) to construct a new house in the Huntsville, Alabama area. During construction, Antioch suggested the Gunthers obtain certain flooring from Carpet Systems of Huntsville, Inc. (“Carpet Systems”). The Gunthers selected various hardwood flooring from Carpet Systems in early September 2009 and signed a “Notification to Owner of Furnishing Labor and/or Materials” (“Notification Form”) on September 22, 2009. The Gunthers and Carpet Systems disagreed whether the cost of the supplies was listed on the Notification Form at the time the Gunthers signed it on September 22, 2009. The parties also disagreed as to whether Carpet Systems had already delivered portions of the hardwood flooring prior to September 22, 2009.

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