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Importantly, if a lienor has substantially complied with the Notice to Owner and Claim of Lien requirements both as to content and time, some errors or omissions should not prevent the enforcement of a Claim of Lien against a person who has not been adversely affected by such omission or error. Complying with all the technical statutory components for filing a claim, although desirable, is neither required nor can it form the basis for denial of the enforcement of an otherwise valid lien. Such liens are valid unless in the discretion of a trial court some prejudice is shown to the owner or another party.

The significance of this is quite obvious for both the lienor and the owner. From the lienor’s perspective, a slight error or omission should not invalidate its otherwise valid lien. A lienor, however, should not intend to rely on the equity of a court to overlook an error in a Claim of Lien or Notice to Owner; this would be a gamble with dire consequences.

Similarly, an owner should not expect that a technical oversight on the part of a lienor will necessarily result in an invalid lien. This is especially true if the owner was aware of the error early on and chose to do nothing about it. While there are many cases which have invalidated liens for technical omissions in the content of the lien, it is very possible that a court sitting in equity may find that the lien, overall, substantially complies with the lien law.

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