Lien Law Section 19(6) allows an aggrieved party to challenge a mechanic’s lien and seek to have it discharged based upon a “facial defect.” Some topics clearly relate to and constitute a “facial defect.” Some common items that are challenged under Lien Law Section 19 are:
- The name of the lienor
- The name of the owner
- The address of the lienor
- Proper description of the work
- Proper description of the property
- Proper identification of the first and last dates of performance
However, other items are disputable and not clearly within the realm of Lien Law Section 19 and facial defects. Once such disputed item is whether a failure to serve a lien on the owner at its “last known place of business” (Lien Law Section 11) and to reflect such service in the recorded affidavit of service constitutes a facial defect. The Second Department was faced with just this question in Matter of EK Mt. Kisco, LLC v. Arcon Constr. Group, Inc. (April 2016).
There, the Appellate Division found that the issue of proper compliance with Lien Law Section 11 was a proper issue to be raised on a Lien Law Section 19(6) motion. The Court further found that the lienor failed to demonstrate proper service at the “last known place of business” of the petitioner and, as such, the mechanic’s lien was properly discharged.
Lien Law Section 19(6) provides a useful tool for those seeking to challenge a mechanic’s lien in an expedited fashion and avoid the sometimes long, expensive and tedious process of defending a mechanic’s lien foreclosure action. Depending on the County where the lien (and the petition) are filed, the resolution can be achieved in as little as 45 days although it often takes a bit longer. Contrast that with the fact that a lien foreclosure defense can often last several years.