Commentary on Lien Law Section 38

Lien Law Section 38 can be a very powerful tool for those looking to challenge a mechanic’s lien.  In sum, Lien Law section 38 allows an owner to demand that a lienor itemize its mechanic’s lien.   In a recent decision from the New York County Supreme Court, Lien Law Section 38 was discussed in depth.  In its decision in In Re: Planet Hollywood Broadway v. Acura Construction et al., the Court noted that a lessee is among those defined as an “owner” entitled to demand an itemization of Lien pursuant to Lien Law Section 38 (citing to Lien Law Section 2(3)).  Whether a lessee has the standing to serve a Section 38 itemization demand is often disputed bu the Court correctly noted that it is squarely addressed by the statutory scheme.  “The purpose of an itemization is to apprise the owner of the lienor’s claim.”  Id.  “Need” is also not a necessary element in a petition to compel a response to Lien Law Section 38. Id.  Under the circumstances of Planet Hollywood, the Court found that the lienor’s objection to the Section 38 demand was unfounded and that the lessee was entitled to a response.

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