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Bradburn v. Alarm Protection Technology, LLC

Supreme Court of Utah

July 17, 2019

Ryan Bradburn, Appellant,
v.
Alarm Protection Technology, LLC; Alder Holdings, LLC; Alder Protection Holdings, LLC; and Adam Schanz, Appellees.

          On Direct Appeal Fourth District, Provo The Honorable Kraig Powell No. 170400290

          Kamron Keele, Chicago, Illinois, for appellant

          Erik A. Olson, Jason R. Hull, Trevor C. Lang, Salt Lake City, for appellees

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

          OPINION

          DURRANT, CHIEF JUSTICE

         Introduction

         ¶1 Ryan Bradburn worked for Alarm Protection Technology (APT) as a sales representative in the summer of 2015. After his employment ended, he sued APT for alleged unpaid commissions. APT, executing on a confession of judgment it had previously obtained from Mr. Bradburn, initiated a constable sale and purchased Mr. Bradburn's right to sue APT. After obtaining his right to sue, APT substituted itself into this case for Mr. Bradburn and dismissed all claims against itself. Mr. Bradburn argues that the district court erred in allowing APT to substitute itself as the plaintiff and extinguish the claims against it. Because we find that the district court did not abuse its discretion in permitting APT's substitution as plaintiff, we affirm.

         Background

         ¶2 Alarm Protection Technology is an alarm services company that sells alarm systems mainly through door-to-door sales. Mr. Bradburn worked for APT as a sales representative after signing an agreement in June 2013. In December 2014, Mr. Bradburn signed a confession of judgment and a promissory note in APT's favor for $24, 000 in exchange for advances on his commission. He stopped working for APT in June 2015.

         ¶3 On March 1, 2017, Mr. Bradburn filed suit against APT in our fourth judicial district, alleging "causes of action for violation of the Utah Sales Representative Commission Payment Act, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, quantum meruit, and promissory estoppel." He alleged $348, 434 in unpaid commissions and treble damages, all totaling $1, 045, 302. Later that day, APT filed the December 2014 confession of judgment and promissory note in the third district. The case file in third district "does not reflect that APT served or notified Bradburn of th[at] filing." In May 2017, the third district court entered judgment against Mr. Bradburn for $24, 000 pursuant to the promissory note and confession of judgment. APT then filed a notice of entry of judgment and served notice on Mr. Bradburn.

         ¶4 After entry of judgment, APT sought a writ of execution requesting a constable sale of all Mr. Bradburn's "rights, claims, interest and choses in action"[1] against APT and its affiliates. He moved to quash or stay the writ of execution. The district court granted the stay in part, allowing him the opportunity to file a rule 60(b) motion instead.[2] He then filed a rule 60(b) motion seeking to vacate the judgment or stay the execution. The district court denied his motion after two days of evidentiary hearings. He did not appeal that denial.

         ¶5 The next month, APT served Mr. Bradburn with notice of a constable sale. At that sale, APT purchased his choses in action against APT and its affiliates for $2, 500. Mr. Bradburn alleges he did not have the money to bid on his own choses in action because he had not been paid his commission. There were no other bidders at the sale. He did not move to vacate the sale.

         ¶6 The next day, APT filed a notice of transfer of claims and a motion to substitute itself as the only plaintiff in Mr. Bradburn's pending action against APT. The district court granted the motion to substitute, which precluded Mr. Bradburn from further participation in the case. APT then extinguished all claims against itself and the other defendants in the case. Mr. Bradburn now appeals from that order granting APT's substitution.

         ¶7 Mr. Bradburn timely appealed to this court. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Utah Code section 78A-3-102(3)(j).

         Standard ...


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