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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Oct 31, 2014

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Donald Capparella, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, TWB Architects, Inc.

Attorneys 2:

William R. O’Bryan, Jr. and Kevin C. Baltz, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, The Braxton, LLC and Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland.

Judge(s): BENNETT

This appeal arises from a suit to enforce a mechanic’s lien. An architectural firm entered into an agreement with the developer of a condominium project to provide architectural and design services. The agreement stated that the firm would be paid a fee of two percent of construction costs if the condominiums were constructed. Later, the architect signed a contract to receive a penthouse as “consideration of design fees owed” on the first contract. The condominiums were constructed according to the plans drawn by the architectural firm. The developer was unable to deed the penthouse to the architect because it was encumbered by a security interest. The architect was never compensated. The architect filed suit to enforce a mechanic’s lien for the amount he was owed under the first contract. The trial court held the second contract was a novation, completely extinguishing the rights and obligations under the first contract. Finding there was a lack of intent for the second contract to completely extinguish the first contract and any lien rights arising from it, we reverse the trial court. We also find the suit was timely filed under the terms of the contract and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings.