Big Lake Lumber, Inc. v. Sec. Prop. Invs., Inc.Annotate this Case
Mark Hilde hired Big Lake Lumber (Big Lake), Wruck Excavating (Wruck), and J. DesMarais Construction (DesMarais) to help him build a "spec home." 21st Century Bank (Bank) recorded a mortgage against the property to finance the purchase of the property and the home construction. After the Bank foreclosed on its mortgage, Big Lake commenced this mechanic's lien foreclosure action. The district court found that the mechanic's liens of Big Lake and DesMarais related back to the date Wruck commenced work on the improvement project, and thus, the mechanic's liens of Big Lake and DesMarais had priority over the mortgage of the Bank. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the court of appeals erred by adopting and then applying a new "integrated analysis" to find the Bank's mortgage superior to the liens; and (2) the district court did not clearly err when it found that Wruck, Big Lake, and DesMarais contributed to the same project of improvement, and accordingly, under the relation-back doctrine, the mechanic's liens of Big Lake and DesMarais had priority over the Bank's mortgage.