The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined that the subcontractor’s action seeking to foreclose a mechanic’s lien was precluded by the doctrine of res judicata, despite its being based on theories different from those raised in the prior action:
“Under res judicata, or claim preclusion, a valid final judgment bars future actions between the same parties on the same cause of action” … . ” [O]nce a claim is brought to a final conclusion, all other claims arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions are barred, even if based upon different theories or if seeking a different remedy'” … . Accordingly, “a disposition on the merits bars litigation between the same parties, or those in privity with them, of a cause of action arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions as a cause of action that either was raised or could have been raised in the prior proceeding” … .
While a subcontractor may have the right to file a second mechanic’s lien within the statutory time period, at least to cure an irregularity in a lien first filed, or to reassert a lien when the prior one has been lost by delay in its enforcement …, a second mechanic’s lien is not immune from the doctrine of res judicata. Although the plaintiff framed its causes of action in the 2014 action as breach of contract and unjust enrichment causes of action, and its cause of action in this action as one to foreclose a mechanic’s lien, these are merely different theories for the plaintiff’s cause of action to recover monies allegedly owed to it under the subcontract. County Wide Flooring, Corp. v Town of Huntington, 2019 NY Slip Op 04354, Second Dept 6-5-19