In New York City, attorney Victor M. Metsch writes in Thomson Reuters News & Insight:
- Your sub-contractor client has not been paid for work, labor and materials on a real estate construction job. She sends you copies of the sub-contract, a summary of the work done and the invoices. She asks you to prepare and file a mechanic’s lien.
- Seems simple enough - take a standard pre-prepared form, fill in the blanks and file the lien. Nothing to it! Of course, that was the easy part. Identifying possible defenses to a mechanic’s lien [under New York law] goes far beyond the narrow confines of the [New York State] Lien Law. And defending the lien, if challenged, may give you—and your client—angina.
- How can anything that, at the outset, seemed so uncomplicated, become so complex, time-consuming and expensive from both a prosecution and defense vantage point? Let’s take a look at some recent [New York] decisions that sustained, vacated or otherwise adjudicated mechanic’s liens.
A CHALLENGE TO ENFORCE OR DEFEND
- Once a mechanic’s lien is filed, an action to foreclose must be commenced before the time limit to do so expires. Then, if the property owner defends, the real action begins.