BRAINERD CONSTR. v. SILVERNALE, C4-97-222 (Minn.App. 7-1-1997)

Brainerd Construction, Inc., Appellant, v. Daniel Silvernale, et al., Respondents, American National Bank, et al., Respondents, John Doe, et al., Defendants.

No. C4-97-222.Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Filed July 1, 1997.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This case is unpublished as indicated by the issuing court.]

This opinion will be unpublished and may not be cited except as provided by Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).

Appeal from the District Court, Morrison County, File No. C5951142.

David C. Hill, David C. Hill Law Office, (for Appellant)

Michael P. Perry, Michael P. Perry Law Office, (for Respondents Silvernale)

John W. Person, Breen and Person, Ltd., (for Respondent American National Bank)

Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Holtan, Judge.[*]

[*] Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.


Appellant Brainerd Construction, Inc. (Brainerd Construction) challenges the district court’s grant of summary judgment, arguing the construction proposals were part of the written contract between appellant and homeowners Daniel and Susan Silvernales, and therefore, the notices contained in the proposals satisfy the pre-lien notice requirement of Minn. Stat. § 514.011 (1996). We affirm.

Summary judgment should be granted when there are no genuine issues of material fact and either party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Minn.R.Civ.P. 56.03. On appeal, this court will determine (1) whether there are any genuine issues of material fact, and (2) whether the district court erred in its application of the law. Emison v. J. PaulSterns Co., 488 N.W.2d 336, 337 (Minn.App. 1992). In this case, because the material facts are not in dispute, the only issue before this court is whether the district court erred in applying the law.

Under the law,

[e]very person who enters into a contract with the owner for the improvement of real property and who has contracted or will contract with any subcontractors or material suppliers to provide labor, skill or materials for the improvement shall include in any written contract with the owner the notice required in this subdivision and shall provide the owner with a copy of the written contract.

Minn. Stat. § 514.011, subd. 1 (1996). “A person who fails to provide the notice shall not have the lien and remedy provided by this chapter.” Id. The purpose of the pre-lien notice is to

protect an owner from hidden liens arising from labor or materials supplied to the contractor by subcontractors or materialmen who extended credit to the contractor on the security of the owner’s property and whose identities were unknown and often unascertainable by the owner.

Nasseff v. Schoenecker, 312 Minn. 485, 490-91, 253 N.W.2d 374, 377
(1977). “Mechanics’ lien laws are strictly construed as to the question whether a lien attaches.” C. Kowalski, Inc. v. Davis, 472 N.W.2d 872, 875
(Minn.App. 1991), review denied (Minn. Sept. 13, 1991).

It is undisputed that the construction proposals contained the necessary notice required by section 514.011. In a well-reasoned opinion, however, the district court determined that the proposals were not part of the written contract. Brainerd Construction disagrees, arguing that the two construction proposals are incorporated into the written contract as addenda by Article 12 of the contract. The language of the contract does not support this argument.

Article 12 of the contract states:

The Contract Documents consist of this Agreement with Conditions of the Contract (General, Supplementary and other Conditions), Drawings, Specifications, addenda issued prior to execution of this Agreement, other documents listed in this agreement and Modifications issued after execution of this agreement.

(Emphasis added.) Article 11 of the contract enumerated every document listed in Article 12 of the contract and, with regard to addenda, Article 11 expressly states there are “[n]one.”

Because the proposals were not part of the contract as addenda, we conclude the district court properly determined the notice contained in the proposals does not satisfy section 514.011 and the lien filed by Brainerd Construction is invalid for lack of pre-lien notice.