Rodney R. Parker, Dani N. Cepernich, Scott A. Elder, Nathanael J. Mitchell, and Adam M. Pace, J.
Editor’s Note: The following appellate cases of interest were recently decided by the Utah Supreme Court, Utah Court of Appeals, and United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Jordan v. Jensen 2017 UT 1 (Jan. 10, 2017)
Uintah County sold property at a tax sale without providing the required notice of the sale to the holder of mineral rights on the property. The mineral interest owner filed suit challenging the validity of the tax sale thirteen years later, and the new owners of the property raised a four-year statute of limitations defense under Utah Code section 78B-2-206. The Utah Supreme Court held that the statute of limitations did not apply because the sale was conducted in violation of the mineral right owner’s due process rights and the tax title was void to the extent it purported to convey the mineral rights on the property.
Bank of America v. Adamson 2017 UT 2 (Jan. 11, 2017)
The Utah Supreme Court answered the question left open in Federal National Mortgage Association v. Sundquist, 2013 UT 45, 311 P.3d 1004, as to the appropriate remedy for a violation of Utah Code section 57-1-21, which requires a trustee of a nonjudicial foreclosure sale to maintain an office within the State of Utah. In doing so, the court distinguished between void, voidable, and valid trustee’s deeds. Because the defendants had not presented any evidence the trustee’s deed violated public policy, the district court erred in holding that it was void. And, because the defendants had not shown that they suffered prejudice as a result of ReconTrust’s failure to have an in-state office, the trustee’s deed was valid, not voidable.
In a dispute over election results, the Utah Supreme Court held that Utah Code section 20A-4-403(2)(a)(ii) unconstitutionally extended the court’s original jurisdiction because the legislature cannot alter the court’s original jurisdiction by statute.
This appeal arose out of a dispute over the proceeds of a life insurance policy. Before his death, the policy owner disinherited and divorced his spouse, but he failed to change the beneficiary designation. The Utah Supreme Court held that, in the absence of express terms that reference divorce in a life insurance policy, there is a statutory presumption that a beneficiary designation of a former spouse is revoked upon divorce. The presumption may be rebutted by the express incorporation of language from Utah Code section 30-3-5(1)(e) in the divorce decree.
Lancer Ins. Co. v. Lake Shore Motor Coach Lines, Inc. 2017 UT 8 (Feb. 15, 2017)
Utah Code section 31A-22-303(1), which requires motor vehicle liability insurance policies to cover damages or injuries to third parties resulting from a driver’s unforeseeable loss of consciousness while driving, overrides the common law “sudden incapacity” defense and imposes strict liability in circumstances where a driver suddenly and...