ULKA DESAI, EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF LAKSHMI DESAI, AND AS THE SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE OF THE REVOCABLE TRUST AGREEMENT OF LAKSHMI DESAI AS AMENDED
A. R. DESIGN GROUP, INC.
THE CIRCUIT COURT OF FAIRFAX COUNTY Robert J. Smith, Judge
PRESENT: Lemons, C.J., Goodwyn, McClanahan, Powell, Kelsey,
and McCullough, JJ., and Millette, S.J.
STEPHEN R. McCULLOUGH, JUSTICE
Desai challenges the validity of a mechanic's lien filed
by A.R. Design Group. The trial court upheld the lien. We
conclude that the memorandum for mechanic's lien either
complied with the statute outright or was substantially
compliant and, therefore, we affirm the judgment of the
Design Group recorded a mechanic's lien for work done on
two properties. The properties are both located in McLean,
Virginia: one is on Towlston Road, and the other is on
Woodside Drive. Both properties have been placed in a trust.
Lakshmi Desai originally served as trustee. Following
Lakshmi's death, Lakshmi's niece Ulka was named as
trustee and she became trustee before the filing of the
memorandum of mechanic's lien.
Design employed a form from the Virginia judiciary's
website, Form CC-1512, for its memoranda. The memorandum for
the Woodside Drive property identifies "Ulka D. Desai
& Ulka D. Desai as executor of Estate of Lakshmi
Desai" as the owner. It does not specifically state that
Ulka Desai is the trustee. The memoranda for both the
Woodside Drive and the Towlston Road liens were both signed
by "Abbas Rouhani VP." Rouhani filled in the blank
space provided for the "claimant." A line is drawn
through the blank space provided for the "agent" to
sign. Rouhani completed the affidavit as follows:
memorandum indicates a date from which interest is claimed or
specifically states when payment is due. The memoranda state
that the "owner is justly indebted to the claimant in
the sum of $39, 332.00 for work on the Woodside Drive
property and $183, 609.05 for work on the Towlston Road
property "for the consideration stated in the foregoing
memorandum, and that the same is payable as therein
filed a petition challenging the validity of the liens. Desai
argues that the memoranda are defective for the following
(1) For the Woodside Drive property, the failure to
specifically name Desai as "trustee" constituted a
fatal omission because, as a consequence, the memorandum
never listed the owner of the property.
(2) For both properties, the memoranda improperly identify
Rouhani, who is an agent, as the claimant.
(3) For both properties, the memoranda fail to list either a
date from which interest is claimed or a date on which the
debt is due.
trial court sustained the validity of the liens. This appeal
liens are creatures of statute. Wallace v. Brumback,
177 Va. 36, 39, 12 S.E.2d 801, 802 (1941) (citing Cain v.
Rea, 159 Va. 446, 452, 166 S.E. 478, 480 (1932)). We
review de novo the trial court's construction of
the statutes at issue. Eberhardt v. Fairfax Cnty. Emps.
Ret. Sys., 283 Va. 190, 194, 721 S.E.2d 524, 526 (2012).
§ 43-3(A) provides in relevant part that
[a]ll persons performing labor or furnishing materials of the
value of $150 or more . . . for the construction, removal,
repair or improvement of any building or structure
permanently annexed to the freehold . . . shall ...