That's an interesting question. First, I'm unaware of the ability to block a lien filing by first filing a suit in small claims court. Generally, it's tough to prevent the attachment of a mechanics lien (via some procedural method) before it's been filed. Often, when a lien claim is obviously flawed, overstated, or outright fraudulent, an owner can fend off potential lien claims by informing the prospective claimant that they will face serious liability if the faulty lien claim is filed. New York, like many other states, imposes serious penalties for those who exaggerate or fabricate lien claims, so shedding light on those penalties can help dissuade a claimant from filing. While filing an action in small claims court might not prevent a lien filing, the posting of a mechanics lien bond can help prevent the attachment of a lien to project property. Under § 37 of the New York lien statute, a bond can be posted either before or after the commencement of work in order to discharge potential liens. Rather than being able to file a mechanics lien against the property, claimants' lien claims would attach to the bond that's been posted. Of course, obtaining a bond to block potential lien claims can be expensive - so it's important to do due diligence before deciding to do so. Note also that in the event a lien claim is
filed (and a bond preventing the claim isn't secured beforehand), a lien claim can be bonded off after
it is filed, too. Similarly as described above, when a lien is bonded off, the property is relieved of the claim and any recovery would come against the bond. In a situation where a lien filing appears evident, it's often wise to consult a local construction or real estate attorney - they'll be able to thoroughly review the situation with you and provide options for how to move forward. Plus, they'll be able to advise on how best to proceed. Finally, here are a few articles that might be useful: (1) New York Mechanics Lien Overview and Statutes
; (2) Primer on Mechanics Lien Bonds and Bonding a Mechanics Lien
; (3) I Just Received a Notice of Intent to Lien – What Should I Do Now?
; and (4) A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now?