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  #11  
Old 10-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
You should negotiate a resolution on your own.

Bringing a lawyer in for $5000 wont make any sense...the lawyer will want $200-250/hour and it will take a 3-4 hours just to come up to speed and draft anything, probably more unless you are lucky enough to find a lawyer who has expertise in marine related disputes. You will be out $1-2000 just to get to the talking stage.

An actual attempt to take this issue to court would cost as much as the disputed amount or more. You wont have a shot at recovering your legal fees.

I always think advice to get a lawyer for this type of dispute comes either from folks who have never done so, or from someone who is a lawyer...
I think those estimates are too high. Maybe I've been fortunate, but I've found that when I needed legal advice, it hasn't been terribly expensive and has saved me money over the long term. A good attorney will be able to give you solid advice, and several options, with just an hour or two of billable time. Often, as Paul said, you can get a good estimate and some suggested direction without being billed for it.

Considering the boat is about to go to auction, the OP needs some good ideas and needs them quickly. It sounds as if he has already tried to work with the mechanic but that hasn't gained him anything.

Good luck.
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  #12  
Old 10-02-2011
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Pay for 1 or 2 hours of lawyer time, it may be your best investment.

Prepare for the meeting;
Write a one page history from your perspective.
Take copies of all correspondence, invoices, estimates,..
Take the original of the notice of lien.

Pay the lawyer to write a letter to the mechanic with copy to the yard.
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Old 10-02-2011
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First of all call the police, and let them investigate if they will. I doubt it but it's just a call, or visit to the station. Also call a lawyer referal service, and there is a huge discount for an hour of counseling, or maybe 30 minutes. Maybe he will make a call too?

These people need to know you're not pussyfooting around, and get on it right now, and no later. There are also lawyer's advice on the internet from lawyers. Open all doors, and don't take no for an answer. The sqeaky wheel gets the grease.........i2f
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  #14  
Old 10-02-2011
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Try Maryland DA or Consumer Affairs whatever they have there. In most places a lien can't even be legally issued without a writing i.e. contract or other proven signed obligation.

Those two are free. If they don't step up see a Maryland lawyer. You might be able to show criminal conspiracy between the yard and the bozo and wind up winning bigtime.
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I have filed mechanics liens against clients (some are still clients). I don't take it personally and neither did my clients, its just business.

Filing a lien requires a lot of documentation including some form of written contract and documentation of the work done, payments received and invoices not paid.

Each state has different requirements. Take to a Maryland attorney with mechanics lien experience.

Mechanic's Liens in Maryland - Fullerton Law This is mechanics lien in construction.
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Last edited by Ulladh; 10-02-2011 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 10-02-2011
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FWIW $5,000 is the figure I would have thrown out for the install of a new engine...I dont understand why the OP has such difficulty defining what the mechanic did or did not, or what money was agreed to. There may be a rotten apple in this arrangement, but as far as I'm concerned, the OP has offered no real evidence to understand who that rotten apple is...
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Old 10-02-2011
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The mechanic got the boat in March. I was told 6 - 8 weeks for the install. This is now October.

I was told the boat was ready in June and again in early August only to find the engine on the cabin floor. I missed the entire summer.

I asked for everyones bills the end of August and the mechanic sent me a bill with a different make of boat. Rather than sending me a new bill he filed a lien.

There are other inconsistencies in the bill. In June I would have written a check and sailed away. This is October.

The engine has never been started and a sea trial never arranged or completed.

Hope that clarifies things,
George
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Old 10-02-2011
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Blogs are good for advice. Attorneys are good for legal advice.

Before an attorney can fully describe your options, they will need to know the mechanic's defense, if any.
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Old 10-02-2011
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I'm a contractor and have filed liens on a few buildings. In real property a mechanics lien can be placed on almost any building with very little justification to why a lien is being filed. However, if I file a lien, there is NO way to force a sale of the property. The only way I can collect on it is when the owner decides to sell it. To complete the sale, they have to satisfy all liens on it. Of course I get the lien amount plus interest. Its funny how people come up with money quickly when they need to..

However, unless the law is different for boats, they can't sell the boat just to satisfy their lien. Negotiate with them and get the work done as needed.

As stated, I'm a contractor, not an expert in Maritime law (or any law) so it could be different, maybe someone else knows....
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Old 10-03-2011
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Try avvo.com

You should discuss your situation with a lawyer licensed in Maryland.

You could also try posting this as a contract law question on avvo.com in the Maryland lawyers section. Avvo is a relatively new, nationwide, Web 2.0, lawyer (and doctor) directory with system-generated ratings, client reviews, and a question and answer section:
http://www.avvo.com/free-legal-advice?ref=header_navbar
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