Andrea P. Lindstrom, Appellant,
Custom Floor Covering Inc., Appellee.
District Court, Logan Department The Honorable Thomas L.
Willmore No. 140100438
L. Peck and John D. Luthy, Attorneys for Appellant.
B. Hancey, Attorney for Appellee.
David N. Mortensen authored this Opinion, in which Judges
Gregory K. Orme and Stephen L. Roth concurred.
Andrea P. Lindstrom appeals the district court's decision
that a lien encumbering her residence was not wrongful under
Utah's Wrongful Lien Act (the Act). We affirm.
Lindstrom and her ex-husband (Ex-husband) owned a piece of
residential property (the Property) as joint tenants. As part
of their January 2010 divorce, Lindstrom was awarded the
Property. Initially, neither Lindstrom nor Ex-husband
recorded the divorce decree or any other document, such as a
quitclaim deed, that transferred ownership in the Property.
In February 2011, Ex-husband executed a promissory note
payable to Custom Floor Covering Inc. (CFC), in the amount of
$14, 685.13. The promissory note granted CFC the right to
record liens against "all real and personal property
currently held, or hereinafter acquired" by Ex-husband.
CFC recorded a notice of lien against the Property that same
Lindstrom eventually learned of the lien and, through
counsel, wrote a letter to CFC indicating that the lien was
wrongful and demanding that the lien be released within ten
days. In response, CFC recorded a clarified notice of lien
against the Property in June 2011, noting that the lien
applies "only against the interests of
[Ex-husband]." Lindstrom then recorded the divorce
decree in July 2011. Thus, at the time CFC recorded the
clarified notice of lien, Ex-husband's name remained on
the property's title. But see infra ¶ 28
In February 2014, Lindstrom again demanded that CFC release
the lien. When CFC did not release the lien, Lindstrom filed
a petition to nullify a wrongful lien, asking the district
court, pursuant to the Act, to declare the lien void and also
seeking treble damages, attorney fees, and costs.
After a summary hearing,  the district court concluded that the lien
was not wrongful under the statute, explaining that its
review must be limited "to what the parties knew at the
time the liens were filed." Twenty-two days later,
Lindstrom filed a motion to alter judgment under rule 59(e)
of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure. The district court
declined to alter its judgment and further stated that it
"considers the Motion to Alter Judgment to be a motion
to reconsider. Even though counsel has styled it as a Motion
to Alter Judgment, the same arguments are being presented to
the Court." Twenty-eight days after the court's
order was entered, Lindstrom filed a notice of appeal.
Lindstrom argues that the district court's conclusion
that CFC's lien was not wrongful was in error.
AND STANDARDS OF REVIEW
There are two issues before us for review. We first must
determine whether the district court's characterization
of Lindstrom's motion to alter judgment as a motion to
reconsider deprives this court of jurisdiction. "Whether
appellate jurisdiction exists is a question of law."
Rosas v. Eyre, 2003 UT App 414, ¶ 9, 82 P.3d
185 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). We
review legal conclusions for correctness. See Davis v.
Davis, 2003 UT App 282, ¶ 7, 76 P.3d 716.
Second, we must determine whether the district court erred in
its determination that CFC's lien on the Property was not
wrongful. "Whether a lien is wrongful [under the Act] is
a question of law which we review for correctness, giving no
deference to the [district] court's legal
conclusions." Pratt v. Pugh, 2010 UT App 219,
¶ 7, 238 P.3d 1073 (citation and internal quotation
Motion to Alter Judgment Tolled the Time for Appeal
We first examine the district court's conclusion that
Lindstrom's motion to alter judgment was actually a
motion to reconsider. This question is paramount to
Lindstrom's appeal because if her motion was a motion to
reconsider, it did not toll the time within which she could
file her appeal, and this court lacks jurisdiction to
consider it. See Gillett v.
Price, 2006 UT 24, ¶ 7, 135 P.3d 861.
Rule 4 of the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure states that a
notice of appeal "shall be filed . . . within 30 days
after the date of entry of the judgment or order appealed
from." Utah R. App. P. 4(a). Rule 4 also lists specific
motions for which the date of final disposition of that
motion replaces the date of the entry of judgment when
calculating the timeliness of the notice of appeal.
Id. R. 4(b). A rule 59 motion to alter or amend
judgment extends the time for appeal, id. R.
4(b)(1)(C), but a motion to reconsider-a motion that does not
exist under the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure-does not,
Gillett, 2006 UT 24, ¶ 6.
The Utah Supreme Court analyzed this issue in B.A.M.
Development, LLC v. Salt Lake County, 2012 UT 26, 282
P.3d 41. There, the court held, "Rule 4(b) is triggered
by the filing of a motion that is properly styled as one of
the motions enumerated in the rule and that plausibly
requests the relevant relief." Id. ¶ 13.
The court further concluded that "although B.A.M.'s
arguments were unconvincing and repetitive, neither rule 4(b)
nor rule 59 require that a posttrial motion make winning
arguments to be procedurally proper." Id.
Here, it is undisputed that Lindstrom styled her motion to
alter judgment as a proper motion under rule 59 of the Utah
Rules of Civil Procedure. Lindstrom's motion also
plausibly requested relief under that rule-requesting that
the district court alter its judgment against her. The
district court nevertheless concluded that the motion was a
motion to reconsider because Lindstrom made "the same
arguments" to the court in the motion that she argued at
the hearing. However, just as in B.A.M., the
"repetitive" arguments here do not affect whether
the motion is "procedurally proper." See
id. Because her motion was "properly styled"
as a rule 59(e) motion and "plausibly requests the
relevant relief, " we conclude that Lindstrom's
motion to alter judgment was "procedurally proper."
See id. ¶¶ ...