Creech v. Rufa

APPELLATE DIVISION
THIRD DEPARTMENT
Real Property

New York Law Journal

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Justice Elizabeth Garry

Defendants appeal from an order granting plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment vacating the mechanic's liens filed by defendants. Creech entered into a contract to sell his property to buyers Rufa and Clohessy. Buyers were to obtain approval for a 19-lot subdivision, and the contract was contingent on that approval. Buyers failed to obtain the approval, and failed to pay the Hamlin defendants for their engineering and architectural services. Defendants filed mechanic's liens against Creech's property and Creech sued the buyers and defendants for breach of contract seeking to have the liens declared invalid and discharged. The panel noted a mechanic's lien on property was not valid unless the owner requested or consented to the lienor's services, stating such consent must be shown by an affirmative act, not merely by the owner's awareness. It found that nothing more than plaintiff's awareness was established by his signature on a purchase contract, ruling defendants' contentions that Creech knew of and consented to their professional services were wholly conclusory and unsupported by any evidence. Thus, the court found Creech's cross-motion for summary judgment vacating the liens was properly granted.

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