Douglas County District Court No. 18CV30747. Honorable David
J. Stevens, Judge.
Richards Carrington LLC, Christopher P. Carrington, Ruth M.
Moore, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellant
Griffiths Law PC, Duncan Griffiths, Christopher J. Griffiths,
Lone Tree, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellee and
ORDER AFFIRMED AND CASE REMANDED WITH
1 This appeal raises two narrow issues. First, is an order
issued by a district court magistrate an "order" of
a state court for purposes of Colorado's spurious lien
statute? Second, is a summary of such a magistrate's
order recorded in real property records a lien "imposed
by" an order of a "state court"?
2 In the trial court, plaintiff, Ken Evans (husband),
contended that appellees, Delinda Evans (wife) and her
attorney, Jennifer Holt, wrongfully encumbered his real
property in Douglas County by recording Holt's
self-styled "Abstract" summarizing the
magistrate's order. He argued that the Abstract must be
removed from the Douglas County real property records under
the procedure set forth in section 38-35-204, C.R.S. 2019,
and C.R.C.P. 105.1. The district court disagreed with
husband. So do we.
3 We answer both questions "yes" and hold that
appellees did not create a "spurious lien" or
"spurious document" within the meaning of
subsections (3) and (4) of section 38-35-201, C.R.S. 2019,
when they encumbered husband's real property by recording
a summary of a magistrate's order entered in the
underlying dissolution of marriage case. Therefore, we
4 Four years after the district court entered a decree
dissolving the Evanses' marriage, wife petitioned the
court to modify the decree. She alleged that husband had
violated his disclosure obligations in the dissolution of
marriage proceeding by failing to inform her of his interest
in certain business assets, as required under C.R.C.P.
16.2(e)(10). She asked the court to allocate the previously
5 Ruling without the parties' consent, which was not
required under C.R.M. 6(b)(1)(A), a district court magistrate
granted wife's petition and ordered husband to pay wife
half of the value of the previously undisclosed assets in
[T]he net marital value that must be divided is $2, 337,
278.00, of which [wife] shall receive $1, 168, 639.00.
[Husband] shall pay [wife]'s sum at a minimum of $50,
000.00 per month. Interest shall accrue at the statutory rate
of 8% per annum, compounded annually, until paid in full.
[Husband]'s payments toward this obligation must commence
not later than 45 days from the date of this order, and
[this order] shall create a lien against all [husband]'s
rights, title and interest in [the subject assets] and any
other assets in his name.
(Emphasis added.) Husband timely filed a petition for
district court review of the magistrate's order.
6 Less than one week after husband filed the petition, Holt
recorded a summary of the magistrate's order, entitled
"Abstract of Court Order," with the Douglas County
Clerk and Recorder. The Abstract said:
[Husband] was . . . required by [the magistrate's] order
to pay said $1, 168, 639.00 amount with interest at the rate
of 8% per annum compounded annually until paid in full at the
rate of not less than $50, 000.00 per month commencing not
later than 45 days after the date of the order and
further provided that [wife] was granted a lien against all
[husband's] rights, title and interest in [the subject
assets], and any other assets in his name.
7 Husband did not learn about the Abstract until months
later, when he attempted to close a transaction secured by
real property he owned in Douglas County. The Abstract
appeared in the County's real property records as an
encumbrance against his property. He argued that the
transaction fell through because the Abstract clouded title
to his property.
8 After discovering the Abstract, husband petitioned the
district court to invalidate the Abstract as a "spurious
lien" or "spurious document" on an expedited
basis following the procedure set forth in section 38-35-204
and C.R.C.P. 105.1. The court denied husband's petition,
finding that the Abstract was neither a "spurious
lien" nor a "spurious document" under the
9 Although husband attacks the Abstract under several legal
theories, we consider only whether it falls within the
statutory definitions of "spurious lien" or
"spurious document." This case is not an appeal of
any ruling in the Evanses' dissolution of marriage case.
Simply put, we must affirm the trial court's order unless
we determine that the Abstract ran afoul of section
38-35-201, even if the Abstract or the underlying
magistrate's order was invalid or otherwise unenforceable
under another legal theory.
Standard of Review
10 We review de novo whether a recorded document is a
spurious lien or spurious document, as defined in subsections
(3) and (4) of section 38-35-201. See Battle N., LLC v.
Sensible Hous. Co., 2015 COA 83, ¶ 53, 370 P.3d
238, 250. We also review de novo whether a district court
applied the correct legal standard in a case filed under the
statute. See Pierce v. Francis, 194 P.3d 505, 509
(Colo.App. 2008). And we review issues of statutory