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Ketchum, Konkel, Barrett, Nickel & Austin v. Heritage Mountain Development Co.

Utah Court of Appeals
784 P.2d 1217 (1989)


Facts

Heritage Mountain Development Company (defendant) acquired land to develop a ski resort. Heritage hired the architecture and design firm of Ketchum, Konkel, Barrett, Nickel & Austin (Ketchum) (plaintiffs). Ketchum began surveying and design work in April. Heritage acquired a loan from Guaranty Savings and Loan Association in June and Guaranty recorded a trust deed as security on the property in September. Offsite design work continued, but no onsite work beyond staking for surveying purposes occurred. Heritage failed to obtain further financing and abandoned the project. Ketchum sought to foreclose on their mechanic’s lien on the property. Guaranty moved for partial summary judgement alleging that their trust deed had priority over all mechanic’s liens on the property. The district court held the Guaranty trust deed had priority because construction work had not commenced as of the date Guaranty filed the trust deed. Ketchum appealed, claiming that the offsite design work amounted to a commencement of work before Guaranty filed the deed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Billings, J.)

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