When a subcontractor files a mechanic’s lien against a property, pursuant to Lien Law Section 19(6), the owner or any other party in interest (i.e., a general contractor), may apply for an order summarily discharging of record the alleged lien. In conjunction with the Lien Law, CPLR 402 states that a petition must comply with the requirements of a complaint. Typically, owners or general contractors attempt to discharge a subcontractor’s mechanic’s lien by commencing a special proceeding and filing a petition to discharge the lien with the court in the county in which the lien was filed. But what if the party seeking to discharge the mechanic’s lien files a complaint instead of a petition?
The Supreme Court of Kings County recently found, in G-Builders/F-Int. LLC v. Reliable Plumbing NYC Corp., 79 Misc. 3d 1242(A) (Sup. Ct. Kings Co. 2023) that the procedural requirements to discharge a mechanic’s lien, pursuant to Lien Law Section 19 and CPLR Section 402, are met even if a party brings the action in the form of a complaint rather than a petition.
In G-Builders, a subcontractor and general contractor entered into an agreement in which the subcontractor was to perform plumbing and sprinkler work for a project. After being paid for a portion of its work, the subcontractor abandoned the project and later filed a notice of mechanic’s lien against the property. The general contractor filed a bond to satisfy the lien and subsequently commenced a proceeding by the filing of a summons and complaint against the lienor-subcontractor. The subcontractor argued that the matter be dismissed because the general contractor failed to bring a special proceeding in accordance with CPLR 402 because it did not file a verified petition to discharge the lien.