Strongback Corp. v. N.E.D. Cambridge Ave. Dev. Corp. (25 AD3d 392, 808 N.Y.S.2d 654 [1st Dept 2006]) illustrates an example of willful exaggeration.
In that case, the undisputed record showed that the plaintiff lienor was already paid $238,000 by the defendant property owner, who argued that plaintiff only provided $85,081 in labor and materials for the project, and that plaintiff's own invoice reflected a value of only $122,395 in completed work.
Based on these facts, the Court observed that, when the mechanic's lien was filed, plaintiff was already overpaid in the amount of at least $115,605 ($238,000 minus $122,395) and the filing was without justification.
Thus, the court opined that "these facts conclusively establish that the lien was willfully exaggerated, leaving only the issue of damages to be determined in favor of defendants." Id. at 394.
In that case, the undisputed evidence showed that the lien was grossly and willfully exaggerated because the plaintiff had been overpaid $115,605, an amount that was about 50% of the total payments made by the defendant.