Where a lien bond has been posted to bond off a lien, a Complaint in the lien case need not be filed at the Registry of Deeds. City Electric Supply v Arch Insurance Company Massachusetts SJC 2019

FACTS

When an unpaid supplier liened the owner’s project, the owner insisted that its construction manager either clear the lien or post a “lien bond” in the amount of the lien. 

The CM posted the lien bond (to substitute the bond as collateral, instead of the land title to the project, to secure the claim of the material supplier).

With liens that are not “bonded off”, filing the Complaint at the registry of deeds is a required step. The material supplier in this case did not record its Complaint the registry of deeds in the time required for other liens.

ISSUE

Where a material supplier’s lien has been bonded off, must a Complaint be filed in the Registry of Deeds for the lien to be valid?

HOLDING

No need to file at the Registry of Deeds where there is a lien bond.

REASONS

Lien bonds replace the title to the project as the funds to secure payment for unpaid suppliers.  With the filing of a lien bond, the title to the land and the Registry of Deeds are not still impacted.  The lien statute does not say explicitly that lien Complaints need to be filed at the Registry of Deeds.