The FAA today published a Notice of a recent Florida Court of Appeals case relating to recording and enforcement of an aircraft mechanic lien in Florida. The Notice discusses the Creston Aviation v. Textron Financial Corporation case that I discussed in my May 9, 2005 post. In that case, the court held that Federal law pertaining to recording with the FAA Aircraft Registry did not preempt a Florida statute requiring that a mechanic lien for work on an aircraft first be filed in the county where the work was performed in order to enforce the lien under Florida law. As a result of this holding, the FAA is publishing the Notice to advise “the public that recording an artisan lien with the FAA Aircraft Registry only, may be insufficient to enforce an artisan lien under Florida law.”
The distinction addressed by this case is the difference between the filing requirement and the enforeceability of the lien. Federal law requires that an aircraft mechanic’s lien be filed with the FAA registry. This means that for all but a few states who do not have aircraft specific lien statutes (e.g. some states without such lien statutes include Wisconsin, North Carolina, Alabama, Colorado, Delaware and Hawaii), the mechanic lien must be filed with the FAA registry in order for the lien to serve as notice to third-parties. However, the validity or enforceability of the lien is determined by state law. In Florida, in order for an aircraft mechanic lien to be enforceable, it must also be filed in the county in which the work was performed.
As I mentioned in my previous post, aircraft mechanic’s liens are creatures of statute, both federal and state. You need to be aware of and comply with both requirements in order to perfect and enforce your aircraft mechanic’s lien.