District Court, Cedar City Department The Honorable Marvin D.
Bagley No. 150500081
B. Ayres and Daniel Baczynski, Attorneys for Appellant
C. Trentadue and Noah M. Hoagland, Attorneys for Appellees
Iron County and Iron County Attorney
C. Keller and Timothy J. Bywater, Attorneys for Appellee
Gregory K. Orme authored this Opinion, in which Judges David
N. Mortensen and Jill M. Pohlman concurred.
After her civil rights claims were dismissed in federal
court, Haylee Cheek filed a complaint in state district court
alleging that she had been treated with unnecessary rigor, in
contravention of the Utah Constitution. As she had in her
federal suit, she named as defendants Iron County; the Iron
County Attorney, Scott Garrett; and Cedar City (collectively,
the Defendants). Upon a motion from each of the Defendants,
the state district court dismissed Cheek's claims without
reaching any conclusions regarding their substantive merit.
Cheek appeals. We affirm in part and reverse in part.
On May 28, 2010, Cheek filed a complaint in Utah's
federal district court alleging that, during her arrest and
subsequent detention, the Defendants had violated her civil
rights. The complaint contained seven causes of
action arising under section 1983 of the United States Code
and three arising under the "unnecessary rigor"
provision of the Utah Constitution. In support of her state-law
claims, Cheek alleged that the named defendants had violated
her constitutional rights by setting excessive bail, by
compelling her to provide blood and urine samples pursuant to
an illegal warrant, and by failing to protect her from a
sexual assault during her incarceration.
In the initial complaint, Cheek listed Garrett as a defendant
in both his official and individual capacities. But Cheek
later amended the complaint to include Garrett only in his
official capacity. Garrett then filed a motion to dismiss.
The federal court granted the motion on November 18, 2014,
reasoning that the complaint stated that the individual
defendants were sued only in their official capacity. The
An official-capacity suit is another way of pleading an
action against an entity of which an officer is an agent.
What's more, a person sued in his official capacity has
no stake, as an individual, in the outcome of [the]
litigation. Accordingly, the claims against all individual
defendants . . . are dismissed.
court specified in its order that Garrett's dismissal was
Following Garrett's dismissal, Cedar City and Iron County
moved, respectively, for summary judgment and judgment on the
pleadings. Rather than opposing these motions, Cheek conceded
that her "claims under federal law may be procedurally,
legally and/or factually insufficient" and agreed that
they should be dismissed with prejudice. In light of this
concession, the federal court dismissed Cheek's suit,
noting that she had the option to refile her state-law claims
in a state court of general jurisdiction.
In May 2015, Cheek commenced this action in Utah's Fifth
District Court against the Defendants and several Cedar City
and Iron County departments and employees. In her complaint,
she reasserted two of her three unnecessary rigor claims,
this time narrowing the scope of her suit to the allegations
that the Defendants had illegally compelled her to provide a
urine sample and that they had failed to prevent her sexual
assault. After filing her complaint, Cheek attempted to
effect service on the Defendants, with, as it turns out, only
In October 2015, the Defendants filed motions to dismiss.
Cedar City argued that Cheek's claims against it should
be dismissed on jurisdictional grounds because she had failed
to file a notice of claim prior to commencing her action, in
accordance with the Governmental Immunity Act of Utah.
Garrett, for his part, argued that Cheek's claims against
him were barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Finally,
Iron County argued that the state district court had not
effectively exerted jurisdiction over the county because
Cheek did not serve the summons and complaint on the County
Clerk, as required by rule 4 of the Utah Rules of Civil
Procedure. Instead, she had served the County
The state district court granted Cedar City's motion in
November 2015, and it granted Garrett's and Iron
County's motions several months later in a bifurcated
order. In its first "partial" order, entered in
July 2016, the court dismissed all Iron County departments,
as they are not separate legal entities and cannot be sued.
The court also dismissed all employees named in the suit,
with the exception of Garrett, explaining that Cheek had
voluntarily relinquished her claims against them during the
hearing on Iron County's motion. The court then entered
its second order in August 2016, wherein it dismissed
Cheek's claims against Garrett with prejudice and her
claims against Iron County without prejudice. On appeal,
Cheek concedes that all of her claims were time-barred ...