Wade S. Winegar and Sandra Winegar, Appellants,
Springville City, Bill Child, and Jason Riding, Appellees.
District Court, Provo Department The Honorable Claudia
Laycock No. 070401317
S. Winegar, Attorney for Appellants.
C. Keller and Timothy J. Bywater, Attorneys for Appellees.
Michele M. Christiansen authored this Opinion, in which
Judges Kate A. Toomey and Ryan M. Harris concurred.
Wade S. Winegar and Sandra Winegar appeal the district
court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Springville
City (the City), Bill Child, and Jason Riding. We affirm.
The Winegars owned vacant property along Hobble Creek in
Springville, Utah. In May 2005, without the Winegars'
knowledge or permission, the City moved heavy equipment
across the Winegars' property as part of an effort to
clear an upstream obstruction in the creek, damaging the
Approximately eight months later, on January 27, 2006, the
Winegars filed a notice of claim for damage to their property
with the Springville City Clerk. The clerk transferred the
notice of claim to the City Attorney, who began communicating
with the Winegars about their claim.
On March 20, an entity named Utah Risk Management Mutual
Association (URMMA) sent a letter to the Winegars, which
Our investigation into the claim you have made against
Springville City for damage to your landscaping and property
. . . is now complete.
Our investigation indicates that Springville City would not
be held legally liable for any damages you may have
sustained. The City has an easement on the property which
allows [it] to enter the creek bed. [It] also [has] authority
to take measures to clean out and maintain the creek bed to
prevent flooding that might damage other property downstream.
Because the City would not be held liable, we must
respectfully decline to make any voluntary payments on this
letter was signed by Lyle Kunz, a claims adjuster, and a copy
was sent to the City Attorney.
A few weeks later, on April 9, Mr. Winegar sent a letter to
the City Attorney, purportedly following up on a telephone
conversation from the previous Friday, April 7. Mr. Winegar
indicated that he needed to amend his claim to include the
names of the individual employees "involved in cutting
trees on the subject property" and "the names of
all those involved in the decision-making process, direction
and supervision of this project." According to the
letter, the City Attorney had advised the Winegars to request
those names in writing.
URMMA responded to the Winegars' letter on April 20:
Your letter dated April 9, 2006, addressed to [the City
Attorney], has been referred to us for a response . . . .
Your claim was denied on March 20, 2006. We are not prepared
to continue negotiations with you by providing the
information you have requested in your letter. If you
[choose] to not accept our denial and if you [choose] to move
this claim to the next step, your attorney can gather this
information through the discovery process of the court
On April 24, Mr. Winegar sent a letter to URMMA and the City
Attorney, in which he acknowledged URMMA's "outright
denial of the claim." Nevertheless, Mr. Winegar
reiterated that he needed to include the employees' names
on the notice of claim and recounted his April 7 conversation
with the City Attorney: "In our conversation on April 7,
[the City Attorney] and I discussed what would happen if
these names were not provided. We concluded the only
alternative was for me to amend my claim . . . to include the
unidentified employees . . . ." Mr. Winegar stated that,
by means of his letter, he was "amend[ing the] claim to
include not only Springville City but all the unidentified
employees who participated in any aspect of the work done at
the above listed property, participated in the
decision-making to do such work[, ] or carried trees or
timber off the property." He also requested that URMMA
or the City Attorney notify him immediately "[i]f you
believe I must follow a different process to amend my
URMMA responded to the Winegars' April 24 letter on May
A review of [the April 24] letter indicates that it would not
qualify as an amended Notice of Claim since it is not
directed to the right department within the City.
Even if it did qualify as an amended Notice of Claim, we do
not believe that there is any significant additional
information that would cause us to change our decision on the
City's liability. We must therefore stand on the original