“Show Cause” Lawsuit to get a Construction Lien Cancelled

If a construction lien is recorded on your property, you have options.  One such aggressive option is to file a “show cause” lawsuit against the lienor giving the lienor 20 days to show cause why its lien should not be cancelled of record.  A lienor shows cause by filing its lien foreclosure lawsuit–typically, in the form of a counterclaim. If the lienor fails to file its lien foreclosure lawsuit within the 20 days then the court should enter an order canceling the lien so that you can have the order recorded in the official records.

The “show cause” lawsuit is statutory in nature pursuant to Florida Statute s. 713.21 and the following language:

By an order of the circuit court of the county where the property is located, as provided in this subsection. Upon filing a complaint therefor by any interested party the clerk shall issue a summons to the lienor to show cause within 20 days why his or her lien should not be enforced by action or vacated and canceled of record. Upon failure of the lienor to show cause why his or her lien should not be enforced or the lienor’s failure to commence such action before the return date of the summons the court shall forthwith order cancellation of the lien.

Again, this is an aggressive approach and, in my opinion, should be implemented if you want to also sue the lienor for affirmative damages or for a fraudulent lien.  While you are shortening the lienor’s statute of limitations to 20 days from the date the lienor is served with the “show cause” lawsuit to force the issue, you can also record a Notice of Contest of Lien which shortens the limitations period to 60 days and can be more cost effective.  Every situation is different and there are certainly circumstances that warrant the “show cause” lawsuit.

Please contact David Adelstein at dadelstein@gmail.com or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.

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