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In re Estate of Willey

Supreme Court of Utah

November 22, 2016

In the Matter of the Estate of Rufus C. Willey [1]
v.
Shauna Child Schmunk, et al., [2] Appellees. Don S. McBroom, Appellant,

         On Direct Appeal

         Second District, Farmington The Honorable Thomas L. Kay No. 143700260

          Mark F. James, Mitchell A. Stephens, G. Stephen Long, Nicole A. Westbrook, Salt Lake City, for appellant

          Alan L. Sullivan, Jared C. Fields, Salt Lake City, for appellees Shauna Child Schmunk, Nancy Child Evensen, David Child, William H. Child, Sheldon Child, Patricia Child, William Steven Child, Susan Child Markham, Tamara Child Petersen, Karen Child Ogden, and Michael Child

          R. Stephen Marshall, Steven M. McCardell, Salt Lake City, for appellee KeyBank, N.A.

          Justice Himonas authored the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Durrant, Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice Pearce and Judge Mortensen joined.

          Having been recused, Justice Durham does not participate; Court of Appeals Judge David N. Mortensen sat.

          Himonas, Justice

         INTRODUCTION

         ¶ 1 Don McBroom, grandson of Rufus Call Willey, founder of the R.C. Willey business enterprise, brought a motion under rule 60(b) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure asking the Second District Court to set aside two orders relating to Mr. McBroom's interests in the business. The court denied the motion, and this appeal followed.

         ¶ 2 We affirm. First, properly construed, Mr. McBroom's rule 60(b) motion sought relief under paragraphs (3) and (4), not (6).[3]Second, since Mr. McBroom filed his motion some forty years after the Second District Court entered its orders, his claims under paragraph (b)(3) are profoundly untimely. And third, Mr. McBroom's claims under paragraph (b)(4) fail on their merits.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 In McBroom v. Child, 2016 UT 38, __ P.3d__, we discuss the relevant factual history regarding Mr. McBroom's claims at length. In this opinion, we recite only the relevant procedural history.

         ¶ 4 Mr. McBroom filed a petition on July 10, 2014, with the Second District Court to review his "Rule 60(b) Motion for Relief from Final Judgment and Motion for Relief Based on Fraud on the Court, " which sought to set aside the Second District Court's 1973 order (1973 Order) approving a stock purchase agreement (1973 Agreement) and the Second District Court's 1975 order (1975 Order) approving the sale of Mr. McBroom's stock in R.C. Willey & Son. Shortly thereafter, members of the Child family-many of whom are relatives of Rufus Call Willey-filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings under rule 24 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure. And on September 22, 2014, KeyBank filed a motion, which the district court granted, asking the court to "authorize its [c]lerk to acknowledge KeyBank as a party and to accept filings by KeyBank in this matter." In its final order, dated August 26, 2015, the district court granted the Child family's motion to intervene in part, denied Mr. McBroom's rule 60(b) motion, and denied Mr. McBroom's motion for relief based on fraud on the court.[4] We have jurisdiction over Mr. McBroom's appeal of this decision under Utah Code section 78A-3-102(3)(j).

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶ 5 "[A] district court has broad discretion in ruling on a motion to set aside an order or judgment under rule 60(b), and '[t]hus, we review a district court's denial of a 60(b) motion under an abuse of discretion standard.'" Metro. Water Dist. of Salt Lake & Sandy v. Sorf, 2013 UT 27, ¶ 12, 304 P.3d 824 (second alteration in original) (citation omitted).

         ANALYSIS

         ¶ 6 The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Mr. McBroom's rule 60(b) motion. We first classify Mr. McBroom's claims for relief under the proper paragraphs of rule 60. We conclude that Mr. McBroom did not properly file a claim for relief under paragraph (b)(6), and instead his claims fall under paragraphs (b)(3) and (4). Next we conclude that because Mr. McBroom did not file his motion under paragraph (b)(3) within ninety days, as prescribed by rule 60(c), his claims based on allegations of fraud on the court are untimely and we do not consider them. We then proceed to analyze Mr. McBroom's claims under paragraph (b)(4). And we hold that all of his paragraph (b)(4) claims are meritless. As a result, we affirm the district court's denial of Mr. McBroom's rule 60(b) motion.

         I. THE PROPER CLASSIFICATION OF MR. MCBROOM'S RULE 60(b) MOTION FOR RELIEF

         ¶ 7 Rule 60(b) allows a court, "upon just terms, " to "relieve a party or its legal representative from a judgment, order, or proceeding" for reasons laid out in paragraphs (b)(1) through (6).[5] The rule further provides that "[a] motion under paragraph (b) must be filed within a reasonable time." Utah R. Civ. P. 60(c). Moreover, a motion under paragraph (b)(1), (2), or (3) cannot be filed more than ninety days after entry of the judgment or order. Id. Because of these differing times, we must determine under what paragraphs Mr. McBroom's reasons for relief fall. Mr. McBroom claims to have filed for relief under paragraphs (b)(4) and (6). We conclude, however, that Mr. McBroom did not appropriately file for relief under paragraph (b)(6), and instead his claims fall under paragraphs (b)(3) and (4).

         ¶ 8 In his filings with the Second District Court, Mr. McBroom claimed to seek relief under paragraphs (b)(4) and (6). Mr. McBroom made several arguments claiming that the orders from which he is seeking relief are void. By the plain language of rule 60, a party seeking relief from a judgment or order on the basis that "the judgment is void" must press his or her claim under paragraph (b)(4). Utah R. Civ. P. 60(b)(4). The only other basis upon which Mr. McBroom sought relief was fraud on the court. But Mr. McBroom cannot seek relief under rule 60(b)(6) based on an allegation of fraud on the court. Instead, a motion seeking relief from a judgment based upon an allegation of fraud on the court necessarily falls under paragraph (b)(3), not paragraph (b)(6).

         ¶ 9 Under the plain language of rule 60, a party seeking to be relieved from a judgment or order based upon an allegation of fraud on the court must do so under paragraph (b)(3). Utah R. Civ. P. 60(b) (permitting a court to relieve a party from a judgment when there is "fraud . . ., misrepresentation or other misconduct of an opposing party"). Motions under paragraph (b)(6), on the other hand, must be based on a reason other than those listed in paragraphs (b)(1) through (5). Id. (permitting a court to relieve a party from a judgment for "any other reason that justifies relief"); see also Richins v. Delbert Chipman & Sons Co., 817 P.2d 382, 387 (Utah Ct. App. 1991) ("Relief under [paragraph (b)(6)] embodies three requirements: 'First[, ] that the reason be one other than those listed in subdivisions (1) through [(5)] . . . .'"(citation omitted)). Rule 60(b)(6) is a residuary clause; a party may not rely upon it if the asserted grounds for relief fall within any other paragraph of rule 60(b). See Laub v. S. Cent. Utah Tel. Ass'n, 657 P.2d 1304, 1306-07 (Utah 1982). As a result, because Mr. McBroom sought relief from the Second District Court's orders based on an allegation of fraud on the court, his motion squarely falls under paragraph (b)(3), not paragraph (b)(6).

         ¶ 10 Therefore, having properly classified Mr. McBroom's rule 60(b) motion into the proper paragraphs, (b)(3) and (4), we proceed to determine if Mr. McBroom timely filed his motion, and if so, whether the merits of his arguments ...


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