Strategies, Challenges, and Answers

In Nevada, a Garage Lien Does Not Disappear Even If The Garage Returns The Truck To The Owner Prior to the Bill Being Paid

We at Mills & Associates regularly look for situations where the law in Nevada is unique.  In the case of liens on trucks held by the garages that service them, Nevada goes against the flow.  In most jurisdictions, when a repair shop owner voluntarily surrenders possession of the truck or trailer, it thereby relinquishes any lien that it has established.  See Lamke v. Lynn, 680 S.W.2d 285 (Mo. App. 1984) and Patapsco Trailer Srv. & Sales, Inc. v. Eastern Freightways, Inc., 275 Md. 558, 318 A.2d 817 (1974).

Mechanic's Lien in Nevada, Garage Lien in Nevada, Nevada Trucking Lawyers, Mills & Associates, Nevada Trial Lawyer, Nevada Court System, Nevada Motor Transport Association, Nevada Appellate Lawyer 702-240-6060 However, in Nevada, mechanics’ liens are controlled by statute.  NRS 108.270 provides that a garage or vehicle storage facility acquires a lien when it services or stores the vehicle “at the request or with the consent of the owner or the owner’s representative.”  The law authorizes the garage to hold and sell the vehicle if the lien amount is not paid.  NRS 108.310.  While the validity of the lien can be contested (see NRS 108.350) the sale may move forward unless some flaw in the lien process occurs or notice is insufficient under the law.  See NRS 108.272.

Nevada is distinct in that where the lien has been properly perfected, even if the vehicle is released back to the owner the lien continues.  NRS 108.280 specifically says that the person who acquires the lien “does not lose the lien by allowing the motor vehicle, aircraft, motorcycle, motor or aircraft equipment, trailer, recreational vehicle, mobile home or manufactured home or parts thereof to be removed from control of the person having the lien.”

This seems to be an invitation for the garage to look for vehicles to go out looking for trucks that it has serviced and repossess them according to his rights under the lien.  Nevertheless, if he does so lawfully, it appears under Nevada law that he would have the right to exercise a sale of the vehicle until his bill has been paid.

The most recent trucking case reported in Nevada on this issue is Stockton Kenworth, Inc. v. Mentzer Detroit Diesel, Inc., 101 Nev. 400, 705 P.2d 145 (1985).  In that case, the owner of a truck brought the vehicle to the Mentzer shop.  Mentzer performed about $10,000.00 worth of work on the truck.  The owner then abandoned the vehicle.  The garage notified Stockton Kenworth, the dealer that had sold the truck to the owner and who had a security interest on the vehicle, that it intended to sell the truck.  Stockton Kenworth dealership filed a motion to regain possession of the truck.  The dealership’s request was denied.  The truck was sold and the garage realized the balance on its charges.  This particular case focused primarily on the issue of who was paying whose attorney fees.  That issue is for another day.  However the opinion gives a good example of how the lien process works and demonstrates the leverage that the law gives to the garage owner.

If you have any questions on these or other issues feel free to give us a call here at Mills and Associates, 702-240-6060.

Mills & Associates Nevada Trucking Lawyers 702-240-6060