Construction Law Blog
Although Pennsylvania courts have not yet addressed whether natural gas construction activities constitute an “improvement” under the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien law, contractors and subcontractors may have mechanics’ lien rights for services rendered. Thus, it is undecided whether the lien would attach to the fee simple interest of the owner of the real property at issue, or whether a lien claimant is limited to attaching its lien to the leasehold interest of either the lessee or easement holder.
Although also not yet addressed by a Pennsylvania appellate court, it seems clear that the Pennsylvania Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act (CASPA) applies to contracts entered into for natural gas development. Under CASPA, owners of construction projects must pay contractors according to the terms of their contracts. If owners fail to do so, courts may award the contractor interest along with penalty fees and attorneys’ fees. Furthermore, under CASPA a venue and/or choice of law provision selecting a venue outside of Pennsylvania or seeking to apply non-Pennsylvania law is unenforceable.