Nebraska Revised Statute 52-136
Amount of lien.
(1) Subject to subsection (3) of this section:
(a) The lien of a prime contractor is for the unpaid part of his or her contract price; and
(b) Except as against a protected party contracting owner, the lien of a claimant other than a prime contractor is for the amount unpaid under the claimant's contract.
(2) Except as modified by subsections (4) and (5) of this section, as against a protected party contracting owner, the lien of a claimant other than a prime contractor is for the lesser of:
(a) The amount unpaid under the claimant's contract; or
(b) The amount unpaid under the prime contract through which the claimant claims at the time the contracting owner receives the claimant's notice of the right to assert a lien.
(3) The lien of a claimant is reduced by the sum of the liens of claimants who claim through him or her.
(4) If a protected party contracting owner's lien liability under a particular prime contract as provided in subsection (5) of this section is less than the sum of claims of all claimants claiming through that particular prime contractor:
(a) Lien claimants whose liens attach at different times have liens in the order of attachment until the owner's lien liability is exhausted; and
(b) Among claimants whose liens attach, or may attach, at the same time, each claimant's lien is for his or her pro rata portion of the amount of the contracting owner's lien liability to claimants whose liens attach at that time.
(5) A protected party contracting owner's lien liability under a particular prime contract is the prime contract price less payments properly made thereon. A payment is properly made on a prime contract to the extent that the payment:
(a) Is made in good faith before the receipt by the contracting owner of a copy of a recorded lien or of a notice of the right to assert a lien; or
(b) If made after receipt by the contracting owner of a copy of a recorded lien or of a notice of the right to assert a lien, is made in good faith and leaves unpaid a part of the prime contract price sufficient to satisfy the unpaid claims of all claimants who have provided a copy of a recorded lien or who have given notice of the right to assert a lien and whose claims are not being satisfied by the payment.
- Laws 1981, LB 512, § 12;
- Laws 2003, LB 655, § 7.
A potential purchaser's interest in a property does not satisfy the requirements of "contracting owner" under subsection (3) of section 52-127, and, therefore, potential purchasers cannot limit their liability under subsection (5) of this section for construction liens properly recorded before the filing of their own title document. Lincoln Lumber Co. v. Lancaster, 260 Neb. 585, 618 N.W.2d 676 (2000).
The provisions of this section make it clear that a prime contractor is not entitled to payment from the owner until the liens of the subcontractors are satisfied. Action Heating & Air Cond. v. Petersen, 229 Neb. 796, 429 N.W.2d 1 (1988).
Under this section, regardless of whether a claimant other than a prime contractor has substantially performed his or her contract, the claimant is entitled to a lien for the reasonable value of the labor he or she has performed and the material he or she has furnished. Sorenson v. Dager, 8 Neb. App. 729, 601 N.W.2d 564 (1999).