Mechanic’s Lien Claim Not Limited By Amounts Contained In Requisitions Submitted to Owner

Contractor’s mechanic’s liens are based upon work actually performed (and unpaid). Often, contractors rely upon the payment requisitions they submitted to the owner to establish the claimed value of the work. Requisitions that were never submitted to or considered by an owner can also be used by a contractor on occasion to support its lien claim. That circumstance was addressed by the First Department in Ferro Fabricators, Inc. v. 1807-1811 Park Avenue Development Corp. 165 A.D.3d 572, 86 N.Y.S.3d 54 (1 st Dept. 2018).

The defendant in Ferro moved for summary judgment on, among other things, its counterclaim that Plaintiff’s mechanic’s lien was willfully exaggerated and thus subject to dismissal pursuant to Lien Law §39 and 39-a. Defendant pointed to the seventh payment requisition Plaintiffs had submitted, which alleged the work was only 78% complete. In opposition to the motion, however, Plaintiff provided the court with a subsequent (eighth) requisition, which had never been submitted to Defendant, but which alleged that 97% of the work was complete. Under those circumstances, the First Department held that the trial level court had properly denied Defendant’s summary judgment motion because there were disputed issues of material facts regarding the amount of work performed.

By its holding, the Court re-confirmed the long standing rule that a lienor is not strictly bound and limited by the requisitions it submitted during the course of the performance of its work. Any work which was performed after the last requisition was submitted may also form the basis of a lien. Indeed, the First Department specifically rejected Defendant’s argument that the work referenced in the eighth requisition should not be included in the lien claim merely because it was never submitted. In other words, while the timely submission of a requisition can often aid
in proving a mechanic’s lien claim, work performed after or outside the normal requisition process can also be included in a lien in the proper circumstances.