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A Mechanic's Lien v. City of Kansas City

March 23, 2007

IN RE: A MECHANIC'S LIEN
v.
THE CITY OF KANSAS CITY, KANSAS.



Appeal from Wyandotte District Court, CORDELL D. MEEKS, JR., judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. The interpretation of a statute is a question of law over which an appellate court has unlimited review. An appellate court is not bound by the district court's interpretation of a statute.

2. Where the controlling facts determined by the district court are based solely on written or documentary evidence, an appellate court may determine de novo what the facts established.

3. When a statute is plain and unambiguous, appellate courts will not speculate as to the legislative intent behind the statute and will not read such a statute so as to add something not readily found in the statute.

4. The provisions of K.S.A. 58-4301 are clear and unambiguous.

5. Under the facts of this case, the district court did not err in determining that a mechanic's lien was fraudulent based upon a motion for judicial review of the status of the lien pursuant to K.S.A. 58-4301.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Malone, J.

Affirmed.

Before GREENE, P.J., MALONE and HILL, JJ.

Mark One Electric Company, Inc., and AT Industrial Sheet Metal (Mark One) appeal the district court's determination that Mark One's mechanic's lien did not attach to the fee simple interest in real property held by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas (Unified Government). The district court determined that Mark One's lien was fraudulent based upon a motion for judicial review of the status of the lien pursuant to K.S.A. 58-4301. Mark One claims the district court exceeded its scope of authority under the statute in making this determination. This case presents an issue of first impression in Kansas.

Trans World Transportation Services, LLC (Trans World) leased commercial property from Unified Government located at 420 Kindelberger Road, Kansas City, Kansas. During the lease term, Trans World contracted with Mark One to make improvements on the property. Mark One was not paid for the improvements, so on March 31, 2006, Mark One filed a mechanic's lien against the property. The lien asserted a claim for labor, materials, and services provided to Trans World in the amount of $224,366.90, plus interest.

On May 1, 2006, Unified Government filed a motion for judicial review of the status of the lien pursuant to K.S.A. 58-4301, claiming the lien was fraudulent and should not attach to Unified Government's interest in the property. Pursuant to the statute, Unified Government attached an affidavit and other documents to its motion. The documents claimed that Unified Government never authorized or consented to any of the improvements made by Mark One and that Trans World did not act as Unified Government's agent in requesting Mark One to make the improvements.

On May 24, 2006, Mark One filed a response to the motion, including an affidavit and other documents attached as exhibits. Mark One claimed Unified Government had knowledge of and consented to the improvements to the real property. Mark One alleged Unified Government had required Trans World to make the improvements to the property as part of an agreement wherein Trans World was going to purchase the property from Unified Government. This purchase agreement never closed.

As evidence of Unified Government's consent to the improvements, Mark One provided the district court with copies of emails from counsel for Trans World to counsel for Unified Government. One email discussed the fact that certain improvements would be made to the property as part of the purchase agreement. These improvements included repaving the parking lot, sealing and painting the building's exterior, remediating the asbestos in the building, and ...


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