In a recently-published opinion from the Appellate Division, the court found that the plain language of the County Improvement Authorities Law exempts county improvement authorities from the provisions of the Municipal Mechanics’ Lien Law which permit liens to be filed for unpaid work on public projects. Relying upon the definitions of a “public agency” in the lien law, as well as language in the statute permitting county improvement authorities and stating that they are not, “a county or municipality or agency or component of a municipality for the purposes of any other law,” the Court found that the plain language of the applicable laws exempted county improvement authorities from being subject to the lien law. Consequently, contractors and sub-contractors should be aware that there is no ability to file a lien on any projects funded by a county improvement authority. (Mastec Renewables Construction Co. Inc. v. Sunlight General Mercer Solar LLC)
The NJ Supreme Court recently affirmed an Appellate Division's decision that medical providers' claims for reimbursement, related to and arising from treatment rendered in a workers' compensation context, are not time barred by the two-year statue of limitations as found in the enabling workers compensation statute but rather remain legally viable for the full six-year period allotted for contracts per N.J.S.A. § 2A:14-1.
The genesis of the challenge was a 2012 amendment to the WC enabling statute which "granted the Division of Workers' Compensation . . . exclusive jurisdiction over claims brought by medical providers for payment of services rendered to injured employees." The employers, by and through their insurance providers, argued that the Legislature must have also truncated the statue of limitations for medical providers' claims for reimbursement, related to and arising from treatment rendered in a workers' compensation context, because of the 2012 amendment.
The Court disagreed with that argument after an examination of the Legislature's intent when it amended N.J.S.A. § 34:15-51. Since the amended statute remained silent as to altering the statute of limitations, and because for many, many years prior the SOL was a six-year period, there could be no finding that the medical providers' claims should be time barred after two-years. The Court noted the Legislature can reexamine this issue and could truncate the SOL, however it did not do so with the 2012 amendment. (The Plastic Surgery Center, PA v. Malouf Chevrolet-Cadillac, Inc. )
Peter J. Vazquez, Jr.