CONSTRUCTION: THE HOUSTON GROUP, INC. V. PARK DUVALLE III, L.P., ET AL.
In another decision on the cutting edge of Kentucky construction law, Greenebaum achieved a dismissal of a mechanics’ lien action for its client. The Houston Group, Inc., the lien claimant, filed a mechanics’ lien against property located in the new Park DuValle housing project in Louisville. The lien claimant filed the lien under the provisions of, and within the time frame set out in, KRS 376.010, the private project lien statute. Greenebaum successfully argued that because the project was ultimately owned by the Metro Louisville Housing Authority, even though it was under a long-term land lease and no public money was involved in the subcontract at issue, that the public project lien statutes, KRS 376.210, et seq., were applicable. It was not disputed that the lien claimant had not complied with the provisions of KRS 376,210, et seq. The Jefferson Circuit Court adopted Greenebaum’s arguments and dismissed the lien claimant’s suit. The matter was not appealed.
This case highlights a novel issue in Kentucky lien law. The issue, whether the public lien or private lien statutes apply on public-private partnerships where the land is owned by a public authority, but the project is funded with private money, has not been decided by an appellate court in Kentucky. Circuit courts in Kentucky are split on this issue finding in one case that the public lien statutes apply, while finding in another that the private lien statutes should be followed. Public-private partnerships are becoming more and more popular, requiring that the courts or the legislature clarify Kentucky’s lien laws to determine which set of statutes apply to these partnership projects.