Direct Appeal First District, Logan The Honorable Brian G.
Cannell No. 090101252
A. Snow, James A. Boevers, Salt Lake City, Mark B. Hancey,
Logan, for appellee
L. Booher, Beth E. Kennedy, Leslie K. Rinaldi, Ronald G.
Russell, Jeffery A. Balls, Salt Lake City, for appellants
Associate Chief Justice Lee authored the opinion of the
Court, in which Chief Justice Durrant, Justice Himonas,
Justice Pearce, and Judge Pohlman joined.
recused herself, Justice Petersen does not participate
herein; Court of Appeals Judge Jill M. Pohlman sat.
ASSOCIATE CHIEF JUSTICE
¶1 LeGrand Johnson Construction Company (LeGrand) filed
an action seeking to enforce a mechanic's lien on
property owned by B2AC, LLC, for the unpaid value of
construction services provided by LeGrand. Celtic Bank,
B2AC's lender, sought to foreclose on the same property
after B2AC failed to pay on its loan. B2AC did not defend
against LeGrand's action to enforce its mechanic's
lien. The action resulted in a lien for $237, 294.21 and an
award of $6, 395.50 in attorney fees and costs, which were to
be collected from the proceeds of the sale of B2AC's
LeGrand and Celtic Bank disputed which of their liens had
priority. The district court determined that LeGrand's
lien had priority. It also awarded LeGrand $132, 916.48 in
attorney fees and costs incurred in the lien priority action.
And it held that LeGrand was entitled to recover 18 percent
in prejudgment and post judgment interest from Celtic Bank
based on LeGrand's contract with B2AC. The prejudgment
interest was awarded not only on the value of the
mechanic's lien but also on the attorney fees and costs
incurred by LeGrand in seeking to enforce the lien against
B2AC and in seeking to establish priority against Celtic
Celtic Bank appeals. It challenges the district court's
decision awarding prejudgment interest on the value of the
mechanic's lien and on the amount of LeGrand's
attorney fees. In the event we reverse the award of
prejudgment interest, Celtic Bank also asks us to vacate the
district court's attorney fee award and to remand to
allow the district court to award attorney fees and costs to
Celtic Bank as the prevailing party on the prejudgment
interest issues. To the extent Celtic Bank remains liable for
attorney fees and costs, Celtic Bank also asks us to reverse
the award of post judgment interest rate of 18 percent and to
limit the post judgment interest rate pursuant to Utah Code
We reverse the decision to award prejudgment interest on the
basis of our decision in Jordan Construction, Inc. v.
Federal National Mortgage Ass'n, 2017 UT 28, ¶
64, 408 P.3d 296. We also conclude that Celtic Bank is the
prevailing party on the prejudgment interest issues. And we
accordingly vacate and remand to the district court to allow
it to award attorney fees in a manner consistent with this
Celtic Bank's first claim of error is vindicated by our
recent decision in Jordan Construction, Inc. v. Federal
National Mortgage Ass'n, 2017 UT 28, 408 P.3d 296.
There we explained that "[t]he extent of overall
recovery available on a mechanic's lien claim, just like
the amount that can be validly listed on the lien itself, can
be no broader than what is provided for by statute."
Id. ¶ 61. And we noted that the version of the
mechanic's lien statute applicable in that case (and
here) "specifically provided for attorney
fees" but "did not provide that prejudgment
interest is recoverable in the action." Id.
¶ 62. We thus concluded that "what is left unsaid
in the mechanic's lien statute is not available for
recovery in a mechanic's lien action" and held that
prejudgment interest is accordingly "unavailable on a
mechanic's lien claim under the 2008 Utah Code."
Id. ¶¶ 62, 64.
This holding applies with equal force here. LeGrand has
identified no plausible basis for distinguishing our holding
in Jordan Construction. Nor has it offered a
persuasive ground for overruling it. We accordingly reinforce
that decision here and reverse the district ...