Paperwork can win or lose a lawsuit. This is especially so in construction litigation. To be entitled to a lien, bond, or any other claim for payment for materials delivered to a construction project, you are not required to show the materials you furnished were installed on the project. However, you must show the materials were delivered. The most common way to document delivery is through the use of delivery tickets or other proof of delivery. Unfortunately, delivery tickets frequently are not correctly filled out. Delivery tickets should always contain the date of delivery, a signature from your customer’s authorized representative, the printed name of this person, a meaningful description of the materials shipped, and a cross reference to your invoice. A failure to include this information will cause uncertainty and headaches if a lawsuit is ever filed. The delivery dates are especially critical to lien and bond claims because the delivery dates (not the invoice dates) determine the deadlines to send notice letters, and in the case of a lien, to file a lien affidavit.
The bottom line is to: (1) review the form of your or your vendor’s delivery tickets to make sure it includes the delivery dates and the other critical information discussed above; (2) audit your files to see whether the delivery tickets are being filled out properly; and (3) save these documents because they may be evidence in a lawsuit someday.