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Snider v. Brinkman

Supreme Court of North Dakota

February 16, 2017

Rick Snider and Janan Snider d/b/a RJ Snider Construction, Plaintiffs and Appellants
v.
Granville "Beaver" Brinkman, Defendant and Dickinson Elks Building, LLC, Defendant and Appellee

         Appeal from the District Court of Stark County, Southwest Judicial District, the Honorable James D. Gion, Judge.

          Sean T. Foss, for plaintiffs and appellants.

          Christopher J. Thompson, for defendant and appellee.

          OPINION

          SANDSTROM, SURROGATE JUDGE.

         [¶ 1] Rick Snider and Janan Snider, doing business as RJ Snider Construction ("Snider"), appeal from a summary judgment forfeiting a construction lien against the property that formerly housed the Dickinson Elks Lodge but is now owned by private investors, the Dickinson Elks Building, LLC ("DEB"), and prohibiting Snider from recording additional liens against the property without performing additional work. We affirm.

         I

         [¶ 2] In December 2011, Snider contracted with Beaver Brinkman to perform work on real property owned by DEB. Snider recorded a construction lien in January 2013 for $198, 255.08 against the property after it did not get paid for all of its work performed between December 2011 and October 2012. In May 2014, DEB served Snider with a demand under N.D.C.C. § 35-27-25 to begin a lawsuit to enforce the lien and record a lis pendens within thirty days of the demand. Snider sued DEB in June 2014, seeking foreclosure of the construction lien. Snider recorded a notice of lis pendens on July 28, 2014.

         [¶ 3] DEB moved for summary judgment, arguing Snider did not have a valid construction lien because Snider did not record a lis pendens within thirty days of receiving the demand to enforce the lien. The district court granted the motion and entered a judgment forfeiting Snider's construction lien because Snider did not record a lis pendens within thirty days of receiving DEB's demand to enforce the lien as required under N.D.C.C. § 35-27-25.

         [¶ 4] In February 2015, two days after the district court entered judgment forfeiting Snider's construction lien, Snider recorded another construction lien for $174, 642.09 against DEB's property for work performed between March 2012 and November 2012. After Snider sued to enforce the lien, DEB moved for summary judgment, arguing the district court's previous forfeiture of Snider's lien prevented Snider from recording another lien pertaining to the same work performed on the property. The court granted the motion, concluding that although the lien amounts differed, both of Snider's recorded liens were related to the same work performed on DEB's property. The court also concluded its earlier forfeiture of Snider's lien under N.D.C.C. § 35-27-25 prohibited Snider from recording another lien for the same work.

         [¶ 5] The district court had jurisdiction under N.D. Const. art. VI, §8, and N.D.C.C. §27-05-06. Snider's appeal is timely under N.D.R.App.P. 4(a). This Court has jurisdiction under N.D. Const. art. VI, §§2 and 6, and N.D.C.C. §28-27-01.

         II

         [¶ 6] Snider argues the district court erred in granting summary judgment to DEB. Snider argues a lien claimant whose construction lien is forfeited under N.D.C.C. § 35-27-25 can record another construction lien for the same work performed.

         [¶ 7] The standard of review for summary judgment is well-established:

Summary judgment under N.D.R.Civ.P. 56(c) is a procedural device for the prompt and expeditious disposition of a lawsuit without a trial if either litigant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law and if no dispute exists as to either the material facts or the inferences to be drawn from undisputed facts, or if resolving factual disputes will not alter the result. Whether a district court ...

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