District Court, Ogden Department The Honorable Ernest W.
Jones No. 150906138
Darin Hammond, Attorney for Appellant
C. Wright and Brooke M. Wangsgard, Attorneys for Appellees
Diana Hagen authored this Opinion, in which Judges Kate A.
Toomey and David N. Mortensen concurred.
Meritage Companies LLC (Meritage) is embroiled in litigation
in Alaska. The adverse parties in that litigation, Robert
Gross and AK Meritage Companies LLC (collectively, AK
Meritage), filed a lis pendens in Utah, claiming the action
pending in Alaska potentially affects Utah real estate.
Meritage filed a motion in a Utah district court seeking
several forms of relief related to the lis pendens. The
district court denied that motion, and Meritage appeals. We
AK Meritage recorded a lis pendens in Weber County, Utah,
concerning two parcels of land located in North Ogden
(collectively, the North Ogden Properties). Meritage is
listed as owner on the title to the North Ogden Properties
and is in the process of developing those parcels. The lis
pendens gave "notice . . . of an action affecting title
to" the North Ogden Properties and referenced an Alaska
lawsuit captioned Meritage Companies, LLC (Alaska entity
1001428) and Jack Barrett v. Robert "Bob" Gross and
AK Meritage Companies, LLC (Alaska entity 86426), Case
No. 3AN-15-8320 CI.
Meritage initiated this action by filing a Petition for
Nullification of Lis Pendens (the Petition) in the Second
District Court in Ogden, Utah. Meritage claimed that the lis
pendens was delaying its development project and filed a
motion seeking to release the lis pendens or, in the
alternative, to require AK Meritage to post sufficient
guarantee (the Motion). In the Motion, Meritage also
requested an injunction, prohibiting AK Meritage from
maintaining the lis pendens or otherwise attempting to
encumber the North Ogden Properties. After hearing argument
and receiving evidence on the Motion, the district court
found that "the only [court] that has the authority to
release [the] lis pendens is . . . the Alaska court."
Accordingly, the district court denied the Motion for release
of the lis pendens, posting of a guarantee, and injunctive
AND STANDARDS OF REVIEW
On appeal, Meritage challenges the denial of the three types
of relief sought in its Motion. First, Meritage contends that
the district court erred in denying its request for release
of the lis pendens. Second, Meritage contends that the
district court erred in denying its request for a guarantee.
Both issues concern the district court's statutory
interpretation and application and are reviewed for
correctness. See Bott v. Osburn, 2011 UT App 139,
¶ 5, 257 P.3d 1022 ("The proper interpretation and
application of a statute is a question of law which we review
for correctness, affording no deference to the district
court's legal conclusions." (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted)).
Meritage also contends that the district court erred in
denying its request for injunctive relief. This issue is
reviewed for abuse of discretion. See Water & Energy
Sys. Tech., Inc. v. Keil, 1999 UT 16, ¶ 6, 974 P.2d
821. An appellate court "will not disturb a district
court's grant [or denial] of a preliminary injunction
unless the district court abused its discretion or rendered a
decision against the clear weight of the evidence."
Denial of ...