Monday, January 24, 2011

Appeals Court Comments on Discharging Lien Under Section 19(6)

In Bryan's Quality Plus, LLC v. Dorime, a lienor foreclosed on its mechanic's lien and, before the defendant answered, the defendant moved to discharge the lien.  While the trial court granted the motion and reduced the amount of the lien significantly, the Second Department of the Appellate Division held that the trial court was in error.  The Appellate Division reaffirmed its long standing position that a court can only vacate or discharge a mechanic's lien for one of the reasons specifically enumerated within Lien Law Section 19(6).  Here, the lien included "standby time" which the trial court improperly dismissed from the lien.  The Appellate Division that the validity of such charges must be determined at trial and cannot be summarily discharged.   The Court also noted, again affirming its long standing position, that in the absence of a defect upon the face of the mechanic's lien, any dispute regarding the validity of the lien must be determined at the foreclosure trial. 

A helpful tip for those looking to challenge a mechanic's lien beyond the face of the lien is to look at Lien Law Section 59 and serve the demand permitted under that section. 

Vincent T. Pallaci is a partner at the New York law firm of Kushnick Pallaci, PLLC where his practice focuses primarily on the area of construction law.  He can be reached at (631) 752-7100 or

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