Wittingham, LLC; The Muir Second Family Limited Partnership and Dorothy Jeanne Muir, Respondents and Cross-Petitioners,
TNE Limited Partnership, Petitioner and Cross-Respondent.
Certification to the Utah Court of Appeals
District, Farmington The Honorable Robert J. Dale No.
K. Tracy, Stacy J. McNeill, Brigman Lee Harman, Salt Lake
City, for respondents and cross-petitioners
Jeffrey L. Silvestrini, Bradly M. Strassberg, Salt Lake City,
for petitioner and cross-respondent
Justice Durrant authored the opinion of the Court, in which
Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice Himonas, Justice Pearce
and Justice Petersen joined.
DURRANT CHIEF JUSTICE.
In this case, the plaintiffs asserted various claims against
a number of defendants. The district court addressed these
claims in its August 4, 2014 amended order of final judgment.
Both parties appealed to the court of appeals, which issued a
decision. We granted certiorari to address the merits of this
case. But we cannot do so because we conclude that the
district court's order was not a final judgment. The
court's order was not a final judgment because the court
failed to dispose of the plaintiffs' civil conspiracy
claim against two defendants-Gavin Dickson and Trump
Security, LLC. Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal for lack
of jurisdiction and vacate the court of appeals'
In setting forth the background of this appeal, we limit our
discussion of the "facts necessary to explain our
The Muir Second Family Limited Partnership (the Muir
Partnership or Partnership) was organized on December 30,
1993, and continued until it was administratively dissolved
on May 3, 2007. Two years after the dissolution, Nicholas
Muir, the former general partner of the defunct Partnership,
entered into a note and trust deed with TNE on behalf of the
Muir Partnership in order to secure a loan for $435, 000. As
collateral for the loan, TNE recorded the trust deed against
a pair of apartment buildings owned by the Partnership. Prior
to the execution of the TNE trust deed, Mr. Muir did not
disclose to TNE that the Muir Partnership had been
He claimed that the loan was necessary to remove an
encumbrance on the apartments, a trust deed, which was
secured by a promissory note owed to Trump Security. In fact,
this transaction was a sham. There was no promissory note nor
was there a trust deed. And the sole member of Trump Security
was Gavin Dickson, who, along with Mario Naujoks, assisted
Mr. Muir in his scheme.
After TNE disbursed the funds, the sham encumbrance was
released and the apartment buildings were transferred between
successive business entities owned by the Muir family, the
last being Wittingham, LLC. Mr. Dickson, acting on behalf of
Trump Security, then directed that the TNE funds be used for
purposes that did not benefit the Partnership. When Mr.
Muir's family discovered the sham encumbrance and
misappropriation of the TNE funds, Wittingham, LLC, the Muir
Partnership, and Dorothy Jeanne Muir (collectively,
Plaintiffs) commenced this action, seeking to have the TNE
trust deed declared void. Plaintiffs also sought to recover
damages from a number of defendants, including TNE, Trump
Security, Mr. Dickson, and Mr. Naujoks, for their alleged
roles in the fraudulent scheme.
In their complaint, Plaintiffs asserted twenty-five causes of
actions. Of these, Plaintiffs alleged four separate causes of
action against Mr. Dickson and Trump Security-conversion,
fraud, slander of title, and alter ego. They also alleged a
civil conspiracy claim against "[a]ll defendants,"
including TNE, Mr. Dickson, Trump Security, and Mr. Naujoks.
On July 10, 2012, the district court granted partial summary
judgment in favor of TNE, Bruce J. Malcom, Maureen H.
Malcolm, and Daniel J. Torkelson (collectively, the TNE
Defendants) on several causes of action. Specifically, the
court dismissed with prejudice Plaintiffs' civil
conspiracy cause of action against the TNE
During the course of the trial, the district court issued a
certificate of default against Mr. Dickson and Trump
Security, as well as a sanction of default judgment against
Mr. Naujoks, but never formally entered an order of default
judgment against any of the three parties until its July 23,
2013 memorandum decision. In that decision, the court
acknowledged that it "ha[d] previously entered the
defaults of [Mr. Dickson and Trump Security] and Mario
Naujoks" and explained that "Plaintiffs presented
evidence regarding their claims against [Mr. Dickson and
Trump Security]." The court concluded that Plaintiffs
had "established their entitlement to an award of actual
damages against [Mr. Dickson and Trump Security] in the
amount of $292, 500.00 on their claims."
The district court then outlined which of Plaintiffs'
causes of action it was granting judgment on against Mr.
Dickson and Trump Security. The court granted judgment in
favor of Plaintiffs and against Mr. Dickson and Trump
Security on their conversion, fraud, slander of title, and
alter ego causes of action. But the court said nothing about
Plaintiffs' civil conspiracy cause of action against Mr.
Dickson and Trump Security.
In the same decision, however, the court apparently did
dismiss the civil conspiracy cause of action against Mr.
Naujoks. There, the court held that Plaintiffs
"presented insufficient evidence on their claims to
support judgment against Mario Naujoks." And so it
dismissed with prejudice "each of Plaintiffs' Causes
of Action against Mario Naujoks." Thus, in the July 23,
2013 memorandum decision, the district court granted default
judgment against Mr. Dickson and Trump Security on all claims
except civil conspiracy, but it refused to grant default
judgment against Mr. Naujoks on all claims brought against
After post-trial proceedings, the district court issued its
August 04, 2014 amended final order of judgment-the operative
final order before us. There, the district court went to
great lengths to dispose of each of the causes of action
asserted by the parties before it. The court walked through
all twenty-five causes of action brought by Plaintiffs. It
reiterated its holding in its July 23, 2013 memorandum
decision-that Plaintiffs' conversion, fraud, slander of
title, and alter ego causes of action against Mr. Dickson and
Trump Security were granted in the amount of $585, 000
(compensatory plus punitive damages). But on Plaintiffs'
civil conspiracy claim the court merely reiterated its July
12, 2012 order-that "Plaintiffs' Twenty-Second Cause