Construction Litigation, Mechanic’s Liens


In the case of Cunningham v Nolte, 2020 NY Slip Op 06493, Second Dept 11=12=20, the New York Appellate Division, Second Department ruled that plaintiff’s cause of action to foreclose on its mechanic’s lien should be dismissed. Plaintiff was an unlicensed individual who performed extensive home improvement contracting work on the defendant’s residence.

The court ruled:

“Pursuant to CPLR 3015 (e), a complaint that seeks to recover damages for breach of a home improvement contract or to recover in quantum meruit for home improvement services is subject to dismissal under CPLR 3211 (a) (7) if it does not allege compliance with the licensing requirement” (ENKO Constr. Corp. v Aronshtein, 89 AD3d 676, 677 [2011]; see Kristeel, Inc. v Seaview Dev. Corp., 165 AD3d 1243, 1244 [2018]; Holistic Homes, LLC v Greenfield, 138 AD3d 689, 690 [2016]; Westchester Stone, Sand & Gravel v Marcella, 262 AD2d 403, 404 [1999]). “The legislative intent to protect residential homeowners places the burden unequivocally on the contractor to ensure that the license requirements are strictly complied with” (Michael D. Canuso Constr. v Rogers, 267 AD2d 218, 219 [1999]; see Nicotra v Manger, 64 AD3d 547, 548 [2009]). “Moreover, a home improvement contractor who fails to possess and plead possession of a valid license as required by relevant laws may not commence an action to foreclose a mechanic’s lien” (Kristeel, Inc. v Seaview Dev. Corp., 165 AD3d at 1244; see Nicotra v Manger, 64 AD3d at 547).

The licensing requirement is one of many factors to be considered when dealing with mechanic’s liens. If you have questions concerning a mechanic’s lien, call The Law Office of James J. Corbett, PC.