Collections law is one of several areas in which the attorneys at MIRAGEAS & AVERY specialize, both inside and outside of the construction industry.
On both public and private construction projects, there are certain remedies available to contractors for collecting timely payment. For example, the Massachusetts payment bond statute, M.G.L. Chapter 149, Section 29, specifically allows subcontractors and suppliers to collect attorney’s fees after being successful in court on a public payment bond claim. On private construction projects, the Massachusetts mechanics lien statute (M.G.L. Chapter 254) is available to secure payment. Additionally, the Massachusetts Prompt Payment Act came into effect in November of 2010 and is designed to assist contractors with submitting and collecting payment requisitions on medium-to-large scale private projects.
There are other tools available for collection that are not limited to the area of construction, namely real estate attachments, trustee process (bank attachments) and equitable reach-and-apply actions. These tools allow for pre-judgment security, which can hasten the resolution of a case. Attorneys Mirageas and Avery are also adept at analyzing the business practices of corporate debtors in order to evaluate whether any of the corporation’s owners or related businesses may be liable to satisfy a claim against the corporation; or whether the corporation or its owners have engaged in any fraudulent transactions in order to render the corporation/individual “judgment-proof.”
Areas of Focus
- Attachments and Pre-Judgment Security
- Individual and Corporate Liability
- Fraudulent Conveyances
Attachments and Pre-Judgment Security
Attorneys Mirageas and Avery are knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to applying the laws of Massachusetts and Rhode Island that allow for the attachment, seizure and sale of real and personal property in order to secure clients’ debt. Prejudgment security measures approved at the beginning of a case often result in the expedited resolution of undisputed contract claims. We are able to competently counsel clients with respect to when such prejudgment security measures are available and advisable. In addition, we have experience collecting court-ordered judgments through the use of sheriffs’ levies on real estate, injunctions against parties who owe money to our clients’ debtors (known as “reach and apply” actions) and supplementary process actions wherein the finances of delinquent debtors are examined by the Court.
Corporate and Individual Liability
Where a corporation or limited liability company has been set up for the express purpose of shielding its owners from a delinquent debt, and without the proper funding and accounting, creditors can often request that the “corporate veil” be pierced, and that any final judgment be entered against the corporation’s individual owners. The same concept is applicable to the relationship between two companies, after one company has been shut down and seen its assets transferred to a second company, simply in order to avoid payment of the former’s debt. In their assessment of a case, Attorneys Avery and Mirageas analyze all options available to recoup sums owed on delinquent accounts and contract balances, including the potential disregard of companies that exist only “on paper.”
The Massachusetts Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, G.L. c. 109A, is an important tool for creditors seeking payment for delinquent accounts and contract balances. The UFTA allows parties to set aside certain transfers of real and personal property made by debtors in such a way as to hinder, delay or defraud creditors. Usually, such transfers are made to “insiders” or persons with knowledge of the debtor’s financial troubles at a certain point in time.
Our office has experience successfully bringing claims under the UFTA to reverse transfers of real property and other security interests given by debtors to avoid the payment of our clients.
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