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LM Construction LLC v. Altoona Hospitality LLC

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 1, 2018

LM CONSTRUCTION LLC, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
ALTOONA HOSPITALITY LLC, Defendant-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Mary Pat Gunderson, Judge.

         A contractor appeals from the district court decision to strike an amended resistance to summary judgment and grant of summary judgment on a petition to foreclose a mechanic's lien.

          Valerie A. Cramer of Cramer Law, PLC, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Elizabeth R. Meyer of Davis Brown Law Firm, Des Moines, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         LM Construction LLC (LM) appeals the district court's granting of summary judgment to Altoona Hospitality LLC (Altoona Hospitality). LM contends the district court erred by striking its amended resistance to summary judgment, and for finding LM improperly filed a mechanic's lien. We affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         LM is an Iowa limited liability company based in Des Moines Iowa. Altoona Hospitality is also an Iowa limited liability company with its principal office in Irving, Texas.

         Altoona Hospitality owns real estate in Altoona, Iowa, and in August 2015, entered into a contract with DDG Construction, LLC (DDG), as general contractor to build a commercial hotel on the property. DDG subsequently hired ESC LLC d/b/a Empire Group (Empire) to work as a subcontractor on the project.

         On October 28, 2015, Empire contracted LM to put up drywall in the hotel, including providing labor and materials.[1] LM's contract is specifically with Empire. In the contract with LM, Empire is designated as a general contractor and LM as subcontractor. LM claims to have started work the next day. LM states they mailed a notice in November to Altoona Hospitality regarding furnishing drywall, labor, and materials to the project and specifying the materials and labor were being provided to Empire. Altoona Hospitality states it never received the notice. LM states it completed the work on April 1, 2016, for $32, 262 in labor and materials. LM submitted an invoice for the work, which was not paid.

         According to LM, Altoona Hospitality, DDG, and Empire all failed to inform LM that that DDG was the general contractor for the project. At some point Empire appears to have been fired from the project. Altoona Hospitality, DDG, and Empire then all failed to inform LM that Empire had been released from its contract. Upon completion of work, LM placed a mechanic's lien as a subcontractor entitled to a lien under Iowa Code section 572.2 (2016), as it believed it was entitled to do. LM did not follow the more stringent section 572.33 requirements a sub-subcontractor must meet to place a mechanic's lien on a commercial construction property.

         On April 14, 2016, LM filed a mechanic's lien for the full amount on the property, listing Empire as general contractor. The next day, LM filed an amended mechanic's lien, again for the full amount, against the property, this time listing DDG as general contractor. Both liens were filed on the Iowa Mechanic's Notice and Lien Registry.

         On August 21, LM filed a petition to foreclose on the mechanic's lien against Altoona Hospitality and DDG. In December, LM filed an amended petition dropping the claim against DDG. On April 17, 2017, Altoona Hospitality moved for summary judgment. LM filed a timely resistance on May 2. LM filed amended documents in support of its resistance on May 17. On May 18, Altoona Hospitality moved to strike the amended documents. On May 22, the court held a hearing on the motion to strike and motion for summary judgment. On June 5, the court granted ...


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