Supreme Court Sides with Contractors in Williams v. Athletic Field

On September 15, 2011, the Washington State Supreme Court overruled the prior decision from the Court of Appeals in Williams v. Athletic Field, Inc. The Williams case had become infamous for contractors in Washington because the holding by the Court of Appeals in that case had literally invalidated thousands of liens across the state.

The Court of Appeals had held that a lien that was in the same form as the example in the lien statute (RCW 60.04.091) was invalid because the lien did not have a “corporate” form acknowledgement. The form provided in the lien statute did not have a “corporate” form acknowledgment but rather used the “individual” form. Our analysis of the Court of Appeals decision after it was released can be accessed here.

In a unanimous decision, the Washington Supreme Court overruled the Court of Appeals and held that the lien recorded by the contractor in Williams was valid because it followed the form provided in the statute. Contractors can now use the statutory form provided in the statute for all liens – regardless of whether the lien is being acknowledged by an individual or a corporation.

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