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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Lamar Construction Inc. agreed to serve as general contractor during construction of the Corpus Christi Crosswinds Apartments and obtained a performance bond as its contract with the project’s owner required. Thereafter, Lamar subcontracted with Cesar Gonzalez, doing business as Gonzalez Construction, who agreed to frame, drywall and roof the apartment project. Gonzalez, however, lacked an adequate work force for the job and sought additional workers from Advance’d Temporaries Inc. The agreement between Gonzalez and Advance’d identified these temporary workers as Advance’d's employees and obligated Advance’d to obtain workers’ compensation and general liability insurance for them. Advance’d further offered a limited guarantee of its employees’ work. Advance’d agreed to promptly replace any temporary worker, upon notification within the first two hours of work, if Gonzalez was not satisfied with the worker’s performance. The contract further provided that temporary workers could not operate machinery, automotive equipment, or work on ladders or scaffolds without Advance’d's prior written approval. Gonzalez agreed to pay Advance’d $2,500 in liquidated damages if he hired any temporary worker within three months of the agreement. Advance’d recruited and supplied more than 100 workers for Gonzalez, qualified the legal status of each worker, and completed the necessary paper work and insurance requirements. Advance’d also paid the temporary workers and their payroll taxes, invoicing Gonzalez weekly for its services. This relationship was only a few months old when Lamar abruptly terminated Gonzalez’s work. Lamar apparently paid Gonzalez all that was owed for his work, but Gonzalez failed to pay the full amount owed to Advance’d. Advance’d nevertheless “took care of” the temporary workers, paying them for their labor. Advance’d then gave notice of its claim under the mechanic’s lien statute, which Lamar disputed. Advance’d then filed an affidavit claiming a mechanic’s lien. Advance’d sued Gonzalez for the balance owed under its contract after it was unable to collect from Gonzalez’s or Lamar’s surety bond. The parties to the suit joined the Crosswinds Apartments, Lamar and the surety as additional parties to the litigation. Following a bench trial, the judge rendered judgment against Gonzalez but denied Advance’d recovery against the other parties. The judge concluded that Advance’d could not recover against Lamar’s surety bond, because Advance’d had not furnished labor as the mechanic’s statute requires, but had simply extended credit to Gonzalez for its payroll. Advance’d appealed, complaining that it had furnished labor at the Crosswinds project under a contract with a subcontractor. Thus, Advance’d argued that it was entitled to the benefits of the mechanic’s lien statute, including a judgment against the general contractor’s bond. The 13th Court of Appeals agreed, reversed the trial court’s judgment and remanded the case for the trial court to determine the remaining issues regarding the validity and amount of Advance’d's claim. Lamar and its surety Reliance National Indemnity Co. sought review by the Texas Supreme Court. HOLDING:Affirmed. First, Reliance argued that Advance’d did not furnish labor on the Crosswinds project and thus did not earn a mechanic’s lien. In a related issue, Reliance argued that the 13th Court applied an erroneous standard of review by mistakenly viewing the question of whether Advance’d “furnished labor” as a legal question rather than a fact question. Finally, Reliance complained that even if Advance’d might have been entitled to a lien, it did not timely perfect its rights, and the court erroneously failed to consider that as an alternative basis for affirming the trial court’s judgment. Texas Property Code �53.021(a) provides, in relevant part, that a person has a mechanic’s lien if the person “labors . . . or furnishes labor or materials for construction or repair in this state of [] a house, building, or improvement” and “the person labors . . . or furnishes the labor or materials under or by virtue of a contract with the owner or the owner’s agent [which includes contractors and subcontractors among others].” These provisions, the court stated, led the 13th Court to conclude that Chapter 53 of the Texas Property Code protects those who labor in Texas as well as those who furnish labor under contract for the benefit of an owner’s construction project. In this case, the court found that Advance’d hired construction workers as its employees, who then labored on a construction of an improvement in Texas, by virtue of a contract with an owner, contractor, or subcontractor, thus satisfying the statutory requirement of �53.021(a). Under these circumstances, the court stated, Advance’d is no different from a supplier who furnishes lumber, pipe or shingles. Instead of materials, Advance’d, the court stated, furnished labor, paying the workers for their services, just as a hardware supplier might pay for the hinges, doorknobs and fixtures that it provides to a construction project. The court therefore concluded that because the temporary workers were Advance’d's employees, Advance’d furnished labor by providing the workers to Gonzalez for work at the Crosswinds construction project. In addition, the court found that because the evidence conclusively established that Advance’d was the employer and was the party responsible for the worker’s pay and related benefits, the 13th Court did not err in its legal conclusion that Advance’d was entitled to a mechanic’s lien. The court also dismissed Lamar’s waiver theory. OPINION:Medina, J., delivered the opinion of the court.

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