The Appellate Division of New Jersey’s Superior Court recently reviewed the signature requirements for filing a construction lien claim prior to and after the 2011 amendments to New Jersey’s Construction Lien Law. Our construction attorneys represent contractors in construction law matters including but not limited to filing and/or defending against construction lien claims under New Jersey’s Construction Lien Law, N.J.S.A. 2A:44a-1, et seq.
The Court’s review was in Diamond Beach, LLC v. March Associates, Inc., decided in December 2018. The Court was required to review the signatory requirements “pre” and “post” Construction Lien Law amendments, and determine whether the amendments should retroactively apply to previously filed construction liens. Prior to the 2011 Construction Lien Law amendments, N.J.S.A. 2A:44A-6 required that a lien claim be signed, acknowledged, and verified by “a partner or duly authorized officer” of the partnership or organization. The 2011 Construction Lien Law amendments dropped the requirement that the lien claim be signed by a “duly authorized officer” and instead required that the lien claim comply with the N.J.S.A. 2A:44A-8 claim form which requires that a “officer/member” sign the form.
While the amendment may have lowered the filing requirements, the Court found that the 2011 changes to the signatory requirements do not retroactively apply to the lien at issue, which was filed prior to the 2011 amendments, because the amendments did not expressly state that they were retroactive. Further, the Court found that the amendments were not “curative” because there was no evidence that they were made to “cure” a previous misinterpretation of the law. Diamond Beach, LLC v. March Associates, Inc., 457 N.J. Super. 265, 277–78 (App. Div. 2018).