James T. Bush Const. Co., Inc. v. Patel, 910052

Decision Date10 January 1992
Docket NumberNo. 910052,910052
Citation412 S.E.2d 703,243 Va. 84
PartiesJAMES T. BUSH CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC. v. Amratlah R. PATEL, et al. Record
CourtVirginia Supreme Court

Frank F. Rennie, IV, Richmond (Thomas L. Northam, Cowan & Owen, on briefs), for appellant.

Milton Paul Miller, Richmond, for appellees Amratlah R. Patel and Manuben A. Patel.

William H. Hoofnagle, III, Richmond (Christopher S. Dillon, Florance, Gordon and Brown, on brief), for appellee Dvorak Geotechnical Services, Inc.

Present: All the Justices.

LACY, Justice.

In this appeal, we consider whether the trial court properly dismissed a suit to enforce a mechanic's lien for failure to name the beneficiary of an inferior deed of trust as a defendant within six months of filing the memorandum of lien.

In January 1985, James T. Bush Construction Company, Inc. (Bush) entered into a subcontract with McAllister Associates, Inc., to perform demolition, excavation, and site work on land owned by Amratlah R. Patel and Manuben A. Patel. Bush completed the work and filed its memorandum of mechanic's lien on May 28, 1985. On September 11, 1985, a deed of trust was recorded on the Patel property. On November 4, 1985, Bush filed a bill of complaint to enforce its mechanic's lien naming the Patels, McAllister Associates, and the trustees under the deed of trust as defendants. Dominion Bank (Dominion), the deed of trust beneficiary, was not named as a defendant.

On December 11, 1987, the trial court granted Bush's motion to file an amended complaint, adding Dominion as a defendant. On October 11, 1990, the trial court reversed that order and granted defendants' motion to dismiss, holding that Bush's suit to enforce its mechanic's lien was untimely because Dominion, a necessary party, was not joined as a defendant prior to the six-month limitation period for enforcement of a mechanic's lien established in Code § 43-17.

The trial court's reversal of its previous position was based upon this Court's opinion in Mendenhall v. Cooper, 239 Va. 71, 387 S.E.2d 468 (1990). That case involved mechanics' liens recorded against property which was developed as condominiums. The original bills of complaint in the suits to enforce the mechanics' liens named the developer as the sole defendant. Approximately one year after the filing of the memoranda of liens, the trial court allowed amendment of the bills of complaint to add two condominium owners, Mendenhall and Becker, the trustee, and the beneficiary of a deed of trust recorded on the property prior to its development. We reversed the judgment of the trial court and held that the owners of the property, the trustee, and the beneficiary of the deed of trust were necessary parties. The failure to name them as defendants in the suit to enforce the liens within the six-month statutory limitation was fatal to the liens' enforcement. Id. at 76, 387 S.E.2d at 471.

In determining whether the added defendants were necessary parties, we examined the nature of the interests they held in light of the principles applicable to necessary parties. Mendenhall and Becker, owners of the property, clearly had an interest in the property which could "be defeated or diminished" by enforcement of the mechanics' liens, and, therefore, they had "an immediate interest in resisting the demand, and all parties who have such immediate interests are necessary parties to the suit." Id. at 75, 387 S.E.2d at 470 (quoting Raney v. Four Thirty Seven Land Co., 233 Va. 513, 519-20, 357 S.E.2d 733, 736 (1987) (citation omitted)).

With regard to the trustee and the beneficiary of the deed of trust, we relied on our analysis in Walt Robbins, Inc. v. Damon Corporation, 232 Va. 43, 348 S.E.2d 223 (1986). In that case, we noted that

[b]ecause the proceeds of a judicial sale under a decree enforcing a mechanic's lien may prove to be insufficient to pay both lien creditors in full, the beneficiary of an antecedent deed of trust has a property right which entitles him to notice and an opportunity to challenge the perfection of the mechanic's lien or to invoke the forfeiture provisions of Code § 43-23.1.

Id. at 47, 348 S.E.2d at 226. Based on principles of due process, we held that because the beneficiary of the deed of trust was entitled to an opportunity to exercise that property right before sale was ordered, the beneficiary was a necessary party to the mechanic's lien enforcement suit. Id. The trustee, vested with legal title to the property, was also a necessary party because enforcement of the mechanic's lien through judicial sale, as sought by the mechanic's lienor, could not result in the issuance of a title free and clear of the lien unless the trustee was a party to the proceeding. Id. at 48, 348 S.E.2d at 227; see Jennings v. City of Norfolk, 198 Va. 277, 287, 93 S.E.2d 302, 309 (1956).

The interests of the trustee and the...

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8 cases
  • Synchronized Constr. Servs., Inc. v. Prav Lodging, LLC
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court
    • October 31, 2014
    ...party who has a real property interest in the real estate subject to the mechanic's lien. See, e.g., James T. Bush Constr. Co. v. Patel, 243 Va. 84, 87–88, 412 S.E.2d 703, 705 (1992) (beneficiary of a deed of trust, recorded after the real estate subject to the mechanic's lien was improved,......
  • Glasser v. Jack Bays, Inc.
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court
    • February 28, 2013
    ...Mendenhall v. Douglas L. Cooper, Inc., 239 Va. 71, 72, 75, 387 S.E.2d 468, 469–70 (1990). Citing James T. Bush Constr. Co. v. Patel, 243 Va. 84, 87–88, 412 S.E.2d 703, 704–05 (1992), the Lenders contend that “[i]n the context of mechanic[s'] lien litigation, necessary parties include the ow......
  • Heyward & Lee Const. Co., Inc. v. Sands, Anderson, Marks & Miller
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court
    • January 13, 1995
    ...S.E. at 281. Id. at 931-32, 140 S.E.2d at 698-99. The Monk decision remained the law until our decision in James T. Bush Construction Co. v. Patel, 243 Va. 84, 412 S.E.2d 703 (1992), decided just over two years after Sands Anderson filed the underlying enforcement suit. In Bush Construction......
  • Aca Fin. Guaranty Corp. v. City of Buena Vista
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Virginia
    • August 9, 2017
    ...See Synchronized Const. Servs., Inc. v. Prav Lodging, L.L.C., 288 Va. 356, 364 (Va. 2014) (compiling cases); James T. Bush Const. Co. v. Patel, 243 Va. 84, 87 (Va. 1992) (surveying cases and observing that "principles of due process" bear on necessity of trustee). Other Virginia cases also ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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