Supreme Court of New York Rejects Property Owner’s Request for Further Itemization of Mechanic’s Lien, Holding Production of Invoices Detailing the Quantity, Price and Date of Delivery of Materials Is Not Required

Matter of Red Hook 160 LLC v. Borough Constr. Grp. LLC, No. 524909/18, 2019 BL 122210 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Mar. 19, 2019)

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John J. Gazzola

This cases arises out of a project owner’s request for further itemization of amounts claimed in a construction manager’s mechanic’s lien.  Red Hook 160 LLC (“Red Hook”), the owner of the property sought to be liened, demanded a revised itemized statement of the mechanics’ lien filed by Borough Construction Group, LLC (“BCG”), the construction manager hired in connection with the construction and renovation of a six story building located at 160 Imlay Street in Kings County, New York.

BCG filed the lien on November 20, 2018 in the amount of $2,542,806.20.  In response, Red Hook filed a demand for itemization pursuant to Section 38 of the Lien Law.  BCG served a brief itemization and Red Hook filed the subject motion, seeking a revised, further itemized statement.  BCG then supplemented its statement with “voluminous records,” yet Red Hook asserted that the itemization provided remained deficient and requested that the Supreme Court of New York either require further itemization of the lien or discharge the lien.

The Court did neither, and instead, denied Red Hook’s motion, concluding that BCG sufficiently itemized all labor and material costs claimed.  The court explained that when a lien is filed, an owner may make a demand seeking itemization of the labor and material which comprise the amount requested in the lien, and such “itemization is proper where it is necessary to provide the owner of details of the lienor’s claims.”  Therefore, in response to such a request, the lienor should set forth the nature of labor, time and rates charged; the dates worked; the quantity and cost of materials installed; and the contracts under which the labor and materials were furnished.

The Court found that BCG satisfied these requirements and sufficiently itemized its lien. With respect to labor, BCG submitted “hundreds of statements delineating the date, the name of the worker and the hours worked,” as well as the rate of pay for each worker.  The Court recognized that co-ordinate jurisdictions have held that such information alone does not satisfy the itemization requirements of New York’s lien law, but concluded that it was not bound by the decisions of such jurisdictions and held the detail provided by BCG was sufficient.

Similarly, the Court concluded that BCG provided sufficient detail regarding the materials comprising the lien.  In doing so, the Court rejected Red Hook’s argument that BCG was required to provide supplier purchase orders and/or invoices detailing the quantity, price and date of delivery of the materials.  The Court explained that no authority requires a showing of such detail and the itemized list of all materials comprising the mechanic’s lien provided by BCG was sufficient for purposes of the itemization because it set forth the items and cost of materials furnished.

Accordingly, the Court held that BCG had sufficiently itemized its lien and denied Red Hook’s motion seeking further itemization or a discharge of the lien.

To view the full text of the court’s decision, courtesy of Bloomberg Law, click here.