District Court, West Jordan Department The Honorable Bruce C.
Lubeck No. 130415822
Michael R. Lofgran and Scott A. Trujillo, Attorneys for
M. Albiston, Appellee Pro Se
Gregory K. Orme authored this Opinion, in which Judges Kate
A. Toomey and David N. Mortensen concurred.
Appellant Design Academy Inc. appeals the district
court's denial of its motion to suspend Appellee Nicole
M. Albiston's driver license and vehicle registration for
her failure to satisfy a judgment unrelated to owning or
operating a motor vehicle. We affirm.
Albiston signed an agreement with Design Academy, promising
that she would pay tuition and related fees, and in return,
Design Academy would provide her with the 2, 000 educational
hours then required by the State of Utah to become a licensed
cosmetologist. Less than six months later, Albiston withdrew
from Design Academy. Shortly thereafter, Design Academy sent
her a statement indicating what she owed under the agreement.
Albiston did not pay any part of the balance due, and Design
Academy filed a complaint against her to collect it. Albiston
failed to answer the complaint or make an appearance, and
Design Academy obtained a default judgment from which
Albiston did not appeal.
Albiston did not make any payments on the judgment. Two years
after entry of the judgment, Design Academy filed a motion in
the district court, requesting that, under section 511 of the
Financial Responsibility of Motor Vehicle Owners and
Operators Act (the Act), Albiston's driver license and
vehicle registration be suspended for failure to satisfy the
judgment within 60 days. See Utah Code Ann. §
41-12a-511 (LexisNexis 2014). The district court denied the
motion, explaining that to trigger the license and
registration suspensions, the Act requires a judgment arising
from the ownership, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle
and that the "suspension of a license on an unsatisfied
judgment applies only to judgments obtained under [the
Act]" and not to Design Academy's judgment premised
on the breach of a cosmetology tuition contract. Design
Design Academy contends that the district court erred in
interpreting "judgment" as defined in subsection
103(2) of the Act. See id. § 41-12a-103(2). We
review questions of statutory interpretation for correctness,
giving no deference to the district court's legal
conclusions. Marion Energy, Inc. v. KFJ Ranch
P'ship, 2011 UT 50, ¶ 12, 267 P.3d 863.
Section 511 of the Act permits the suspension of a judgment
debtor's driver license and vehicle registration when he
or she fails to satisfy a judgment within 60 days. Utah Code
Ann. § 41-12a-511(1)‒(2). The clerk of the court
or the judge, "upon the written request of the judgment
creditor or his attorney, " forwards a certified copy of
the judgment to the Department of Public Safety
"immediately after the expiration of the 60 days."
Id. § 41-12a-511(1). Upon receiving a copy of
the judgment, the Department of Public Safety "shall
suspend the license and registration . . . of any person
against whom the judgment was rendered." Id.
§ 41-12a-511(2). The Act defines a "judgment"
judgment that is final by:
(a)expiration without appeal of the time within which an
appeal might have been perfected; or
(b)final affirmation on appeal, rendered by a court of
competent jurisdiction of any state or of the United
States, upon a cause of action for damages:
(i) arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of
any motor vehicle . . ...