May 2016 Archives

Construction Lien Law Changes in New Jersey

A recent ruling in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey has significantly altered the legal landscape for filing Construction Liens in New Jersey.[1] The Court in Cooper Elec. Supply Co. v. Linear Elec. Co., affirmed a bankruptcy court's decision holding that a construction lien filed after a debtor had filed for bankruptcy was void ab initio because it violated the automatic stay provision of 11 U.S.C. § 362, which provides for a stay on any "act or to create, perfect, or enforce any lien against property of the [debtor's] estate." No. CV 15-06429 (SDW), 2016 WL 781770 (D.N.J. Feb. 29, 2016); 11 U.S.C. § 362. Central to the Court's reasoning was its expansive reading of the property of the debtor's "estate," as defined in 11 U.S.C. § 362, to include accounts receivable. This expansive reading made way for the Court to conclude that the accounts receivable underlying the "Appellants' construction liens were [property] of the estate" and thus fell "squarely within the broad prohibitions of the automatic stay provisions." Id. at *3. An appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit was filed on March 8, 2016.

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