WHERE MECHANIC’S LIENHOLDER PROVES VALID DEBT AND PERFECTED LIEN, COURT HAS NO DISCRETION TO DENY FORECLOSURE AND SALE OF PROPERTY

Crawford Services, Inc. v. Skillman International Firm, LLC
Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-13-01428-CV (August 22, 2014)
Justices Bridges, Francis, and Lang-Miers (Opinion)
Crawford repaired and replaced components of Skillman’s air conditioning system. Skillman failed to pay. Crawford perfected a statutory mechanic’s lien on the property on which the work had been done, and then sued Skillman for breach of contract and to foreclose on the mechanic’s lien. The trial court found Skillman’s debt to Crawford was valid and that Crawford had perfected the mechanic’s lien. But the court refused to order foreclosure of the lien and sale of the property subject to the lien. The trial court explained that the pertinent statute, TEX. PROP. CODE § 53.154, granted it discretion whether to order foreclosure and sale. In a case of first impression, however, the Dallas Court of Appeals reversed. Once a trial court determines that a lienholder is owed a valid debt and has a perfected mechanic’s lien, the appeals court held, it does “not have discretion under section 53.154 to deny a judgment of foreclosure and order of sale of the property subject to the lien.”

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