The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge:
First, can only the public body on which a public mechanic's lien has
been served complain about the sufficiency of the lien?
Second, does a lien for "materials and labor furnished" comply with a
requirement that liens state with particularity the items and amounts
that are due?
This cause is before the Court on Defendant-contractor's motion to
dismiss Plaintiff-subcontractor's complaint for an accounting for its
failure to follow the statutory requirements set forth in Ill.Rev.Stat.
ch. 82, ¶ 23 (1989).
In March, 1986, Defendant and the Illinois Department of Transportation
entered into a contract under which Defendant was to construct two
bridges across the Illinois River. Defendant then entered into a contract
with Plaintiff whereby Plaintiff was to redesign and construct the
superstructure of the two bridges. Various delays occurred during the
construction of the bridge and several lawsuits have been filed as a
result. Among these is the present case in which Plaintiff filed a public
mechanic's lien with the State of Illinois and a complaint for an
accounting under Ill.Rev. Stat. ch. 82, 11 23 (1989) whereby Plaintiff
seeks payment for labor performed and materials furnished.
Defendant argues that Plaintiff has failed to comply with the Public
Mechanic's Lien Act because: 1) Plaintiffs "claim for a lien does not
contain any statement "showing with particularity the several items and
the amount claimed to be due on each;'" 2) Plaintiff's lien is limited to
labor performed and materials furnished while its complaint includes a
request for damages due to delay and disruption; and 3) Plaintiff's
complaint for an accounting is in fact a complaint for damages since it
is seeking damages for delay and disruption rather than recovery for
labor and materials.
This Court earlier found that Plaintiff's complaint for an accounting
was not a complaint for damages in disguise. After performing its own
research, this Court raised the question of whether Plaintiff had
standing to challenge the sufficiency of the lien notice. The parties
were ordered to submit briefs addressing the two visceral issues: 1)
whether the contractor may complain about the sufficiency of the public
lien; 2) if so, whether the subcontractor complied with the particularity
requirement as defined by the Illinois courts—or by other courts in
In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court "must accept the well
pleaded allegations of the complaint as true. In addition, the Court must
view these allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff."
Gomez v. Illinois State Bd. of Educ., 811 F.2d 1030, 1039 (7th Cir.
1987). Although a complaint is not required to contain a detailed outline
of the claim's basis, it nevertheless "must contain either direct or
inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to
sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Car Carriers, Inc.
v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1106 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied,
470 U.S. 1054, 105 S.Ct. 1758, 84 L.Ed.2d 821 (1985). Dismissal is not
granted "unless it appears ...