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Carrier and Warehouseman’s Liens

A lien on freight in your possession is invaluable when you are trying to collect past due freight or storage charges.  There are 3 types of liens: common law, statutory and contractual.  Pretty much all carriers and warehousemen have a common law lien, but it only allows you to hold sufficient goods to pay outstanding charges relative to the goods you are holding.  It does not allow you to collect unpaid charges on goods which have been released from your possession, and you must go to court to enforce the lien before you can sell the goods.  California has a statutory carrier’s lien, but you must forewarn the shipper in writing before you pick up the goods that failure to pay may result in a lien on future shipments.  Many carriers put the required language in their freight invoices or other freight documents.  California also has a statutory warehouseman’s lien, but there must be a written storage receipt or warehouse agreement covering the stored goods, and unless the storage agreement states otherwise this lien only applies to storage or related charges on the goods that are held by the warehouseman.  If you have any questions about carrier’s or warehouseman’s liens, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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