Thursday, February 23, 2012

Summary 2012 WY 24

Summary of Decision February 23, 2012

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Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

Case Name: REDCO CONSTRUCTION, a Wyoming Corporation v. PROFILE PROPERTIES, LLC, a Wyoming LLC.

Citation:  2012 WY 24

Docket Number: S-10-0255

Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, the Honorable Michael K. Davis, Judge.

Representing Appellant (Defendant): Justin Kallal of Justin Kallal, PC, Jackson, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee (Plaintiff): Raymond W. Martin of Sundahl, Powers, Kapp & Martin, LLC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Date of Decision: February 23, 2012

Facts: This case is a lien foreclosure case involving a landlord, a tenant and a contractor. Profile Properties, LLC (Profile) leased commercial real property to Clean Start, LLC (Clean Start).  Clean Start sought to renovate the property to convert it from office space to a commercial laundry facility.  Profile granted Clean Start permission to renovate the property on the condition that Clean Start would pay for the renovations, and Clean Start thereafter contracted with Redco Construction (Redco) to perform the work.  When Clean Start defaulted on its payments to Redco, Redco filed a lien against Profile’s property.

Redco thereafter filed a complaint against Profile and Clean Start, alleging claims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, and promissory estoppel, and seeking to foreclose on its lien against Profile’s real property.  The district court interpreted Wyoming’s lien statutes to allow a lien against a landlord’s real property for the debt of a tenant under two circumstances: 1) if the landlord agreed to pay for the improvements to the property; or 2) if the tenant was acting as the landlord’s agent in contracting for the improvements.  It then granted Profile’s motion for summary judgment finding that Profile did not agree to pay for the renovations to the property and that Clean Start was not acting as Profile’s agent in contracting for the improvements.

Issues:  Redco presents the following single issue on appeal: Did the trial court err as a matter of law by finding that for a valid mechanic’s lien to exist for improvements placed upon the landlord’s property by the tenant, “specifically authorized” as used in W.S. 29-2-105(a)(ii), requires the finding of something akin to an agency relationship between the landlord and tenant and granting summary judgment to the Defendant?

Holdings: The Court found that the district court correctly interpreted Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-2-105(a)(ii) to require a finding of agency between the landlord and tenant before a mechanic’s lien may attach to the landlord’s property for work performed at the tenant’s behest.  In this case, that relationship did not exist.  The decision of the district court was affirmed.

Justice Golden delivered the opinion for the court.

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