The Nassau County Supreme Court recently held that a contractor demonstrated good cause allowing the Court to extend the contractor’s mechanic’s lien nunc pro tunc.
The action was initially commenced by the property owner, who sought an order pursuant to Lien Law Section 19 discharging and vacating a mechanic’s lien filed by All Sons Electric Corp. (“All Sons”) against a single family residence on the ground that the mechanic’s lien expired by operation of law. Pursuant to Section 17 of the Lien Law, a mechanic’s lien automatically expires one year after filing unless (i) an extension is filed with the County Clerk or (ii) an action is commenced to foreclose the lien and a notice of pendency is filed. Section 17 further provides that a lien filed against a single family dwelling may only be extended by court order. Here, All Sons filed an extension of lien and paid the appropriate fee within the one year time period, but failed to obtain a court order authorizing the extension.
In response to the owner’s application to discharge the lien, All Sons cross-moved for leave to file its extension of lien nunc pro tunc. The Court, recognizing that a lien automatically expires by operation of law if an extension is not timely filed or a foreclosure action commenced, focused on the fact that All Sons had filed an extension with the County Clerk within the one year period. This distinguished All Sons’ situation from that presented in the case relied on by the owner, wherein the contractor failed to do anything within the one year period (see Aztec Window & Door Mfg., Inc. v. 71 Vill. Rd., LLC, 60 A.D.3d 795, 875 N.Y.S.2d 528 (2nd Dept. 2009)).