Henifin Constr. v. Keystone Constr.

In Henifin Construction, 2006 Wash. App. LEXIS 2349 (October 23, 2006), the issue before the Division I Court of Appeals was whether the subcontractor, Henifin, could claim a lien on property owned by McDonalds for change orders authorized by the general contractor, Keystone, but not authorized by McDonalds. McDonalds successfully defeated the claim of lien at the trial court level. McDonalds argued that Henifin’s work was not lienable because the work was not furnished “at the instance of the owner, or the agent or construction agent of the owner” under RCW 60.04.021. McDonalds did not authorize the extra work and it argued that Keystone was not its “construction agent”.

The Court of Appeals disagreed and held that because McDonalds placed Keystone in charge of constructing its restaurant, Keystone was McDonalds’ construction agent. McDonalds also argued that the extra work was not lienable because because it was not within the “contract price” as defined in RCW 60.04.011(2). The statue defines contract price as “the amount agreed upon by the contracting parties, or if no amount is agreed upon, then the customary and reasonable charge therefor.” McDonalds argued the extra work sought by Henifin was not a part of the agreed upon price. The Court of Appeals held that the extra work was lienable because Keystone, McDonalds’ construction agent, authorized the change orders.

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