NY Lien Law Section 19(6) Interpretation

Under NY Lien Law section 19(6) the property owner or "any other party in interest" may apply for an order summarily discharging an alleged mechanics lien "where it appears from the face of the notice of lien that the claimant has no valid lien by reason of the character of the labor or materials furnished and for which a lien is claimed, or where for any other reason the notice of lien is invalid by reason of failure to comply with the provisions of section nine." Section 9 sets forth the information that must appear on the face of the notice. Courts read this section to mean that absent a "defect upon the face of the lien," disputes over the validy of the lien must be decided at the trial on the foreclosure action, not on a motion to vacate. Care Systems, Inc. v. Laramee, 155 AD2d 770, 547 N.Y.S.2d 471 (3d Dept. 1989). In Northside Tower Realty v. Klin Construction Group, Inc., 73 AD3d 1072, 899 N.Y.S.2d 900 (2d Dept. 2010), the Second Department stated that "a court has no inherent power to vacate or discharge a notice of lien except as authorized by Lien Law 19(6) . . . which provides the grounds for the discharge of a mechanic's lien interposed against a nonpublic improvement." the court held that because the notice of lien was not invalid on its face, it was not subject to summary discharge. Id. In Pontos Renovation Inc. v. Kitano Arms Corp., 204 AD2d 87, 611 N.Y.S.2d 538 (1st Dept. 1994), in addressing a motion to summarily discharge a mechanic's lien, the First Department considered whether the owner consented to the contractor's work. The court concluded that whether such consent was given was an issue of fact that could not be "resolved upon defendant's motion to vacate the lien." Id. at 87 (citing Care Systems, Inc. v. Laramee, 155 AD2d 770, 547 N.Y.S.2d 471).