Illinois Mechanic's Liens

Mechanics Liens? Contractors Liens? Construction Liens? Mechanics' Liens? Contractor's Liens? Contractors' Liens? Mechanics Lien's? Construction Lien's? Mechanics Liens? Contractors Liens? Construction Liens? Mechanics' Liens? Contractor's Liens? Contractors' Liens? Mechanics Lien's? Construction Lien's? Mechanics Liens? Contractors Liens? Construction Liens? Mechanics' Liens? Contractor's Liens? Contractors' Liens? Mechanics Lien's? Construction Lien's? Mechanics Liens? Contractors Liens? Construction Liens? Mechanics' Liens? Contractor's Liens? Contractors' Liens? Mechanics Lien's? Construction Lien's?

With all the other things to keep track of in a construction project, you don't need a spelling or name problem to deal with, but you get one anyway.

The Spelling Insanity

Which is it, Mechanics or Mechanic's? You find both on the web, and in court opinions, and in articles...

If you want to be "correct," follow the form of the statute, which eliminates the apostrophe. Apparently, the apostrophe was so confusing to legislators, judges and attorneys that everyone decided just to get rid of it entirely in the latest version of the statute. So, Illinois Mechanics Liens is now officially the correct form.

Really, the bottom line is, who cares? We're not trying to be high school English teachers here. The point of the Act is not learning the conventions of spelling, it's about making your construction project successful.

The Name Insanity

This is construction or contracting, not fixing machines. Why does this Act have the name Illinois Mechanics Lien Act if it doesn't cover disputes that arise out of fixing machines, like cars or trucks? Shouldn't it be the Illinois Construction Lien Act, or the Illinois Contractors Lien Act?

The answer is that the name was invented before there were cars or trucks, and really before there were very many machines at all. Back in the 1700's, anyone who did physical labor might be called a "mechanic," so it included people like carpenters, plumbers, and laborers. The name has just stayed the same while the technology of the world, and the way we talk about technology, has changed.

If this all seems clear now, don't underestimate the ability of the law to avoid making sense. Unfortunately, the problem doesn't end there. Although Illinois law has other ways of dealing with disputes regarding cars, trucks, bulldozers, factory equipment, etc., one significant type of machine that is covered by the Illinois Mechanics Lien Act is anything included in the category of boats and watercraft.

Presumably, the reason for this is that large boats are really more comparable to warehouses, factories, or hotels in terms of their expense and complexity. With this in mind, you can understand why the more detailed procedure of the Illinois Mechanics Lien Act would be used for repairs to a giant container ship or a huge cruise liner. However, this explanation really doesn't explain why an over-the-road tractor costing in excess of $1,000,000 is not covered by this law, but a $15,000 sailboat is. (Click here for more information on boats.)

All clear? Me neither, but I'm ready to drop these details and move on.

Learn More about Mechanics Liens

Question or Comment?

 


 

Copyright 2002, Thomas J. Westgard