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Eischen Cabinet Co. v. Hildebrandt

November 25, 2003

EISCHEN CABINET COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
JOHN O. HILDEBRANDT, ET AL., RESPONDENTS, HAMPTON BANK, N/K/A MERCHANTS BANK, N.A., DEFENDANT, AMERIQUEST MORTGAGE COMPANY, RESPONDENT.



Dakota County District Court File No. C0-02-9976

Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

SYLLABUS

Timeliness is an essential requirement of the mechanics' lien statute. A mechanics' lien ceases to exist unless a claim is filed and the owner of the property is served by certified mail with a lien statement within 120 days after the last work or item of skill, material, or machinery is furnished.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Klaphake, Judge

Affirmed

OPINION

Appellant Eischen Cabinet Company challenges the district court's grant of partial summary judgment in favor of respondents John and Marlene Hildebrandt, asserting that the district court erred in its interpretation of the mechanics' lien statute, Minn. Stat. §á514.08 (2002), and that genuine issues of material fact remain, precluding summary judgment. Because the district court did not err in construing the mechanics' lien statute to require strict adherence to the requirements for creating a lien and because there are no genuine issues of material fact, we affirm.

FACTS

Appellant built custom-made cabinets for respondents' home, pursuant to a contract entered into on May 4, 2000. Although work was completed in January 2002, respondents failed to pay the balance due of approximately $3,100 out of a total contract value of $30,631.72.

On Friday, May 24, 2002, appellant mailed a mechanics' lien statement to the Dakota County Recorder for filing. The statement was filed and recorded on May 28, and the district court concluded as a matter of law that the statement was timely. Also on Friday, May 24, 2002, appellant mailed a mechanics' lien statement by certified mail to respondents at their home address, the site where the work was done. Respondents, however, do not receive mail at their home, but use a post office box located at the Hastings post office. Further, May 27, 2002, was Memorial Day and the post office was closed. The certified letter was received by the Hastings post office on May 28, 2002; respondents picked up their mail on May 30. The mechanics' lien statement recites January 25, 2002, as the last day work was done. Appellant's complaint alleges that work was provided through January 29, 2002.

Respondents moved for partial summary judgment, asking that the first count of appellant's complaint, the mechanics' lien foreclosure, be dismissed and the lis pendens discharged. On March 13, 2003, the district court granted partial summary judgment to respondents, finding that service on them had not occurred until May 30, 2002. The district court concluded that because service did not occur within 120 days after the last work performed at respondents' home, the mechanics' lien was untimely and both it and the lis pendens were discharged.

ISSUES

1. Did the district court err in concluding that the mechanics' lien statement was not ...


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