DTJ Design, Inc. v. First Republic BankAnnotate this Case
Downing, Thorpe & James Design, Inc. (DTJ) was an architectural firm incorporated in Colorado. Thomas Thrope, one of DTJ’s three founding principals, was allowed to practice individually as a foreign architect in Nevada, but DTJ was not allowed to practice as a foreign corporation in Nevada. In 2004, DTJ contracted with a Nevada developer to provide architectural services for a Las Vegas subdivision owned by Prima Condominiums, LLC (Prima). Prima obtained a loan from First Republic Bank in exchange for a promissory note secured by a deed of trust on one of the subdivision’s units. After Prima defaulted on its payments, DTJ recorded a notice of mechanic’s lien against the property for unpaid services. First Republic then foreclosed and purchased the property. DTJ subsequently brought an action against First Republic for lien priority and unjust enrichment. The district court granted summary judgment for First Republic. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because DTJ had failed to comply with Nevada’s statutory registration and filing provisions, it was barred from maintaining an action in Nevada for compensation for its architectural services; and (2) Thorpe’s individual status had no bearing on whether DTJ could bring or maintain an action for compensation for its services.