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Galindo v. City of Flagstaff

Supreme Court of Utah

November 1, 2019

Tamara Monica Galindo, Appellant,
v.
City of Flagstaff, Arizona and Jerolyn Byrne, Appellees.

          Heard September 18, 2019

          On Direct Appeal Fourth District, Provo The Honorable James R. Taylor No. 170401281

          Shane D. Gosdis, Murray, for appellant

          Terry M. Plant, Stewart B. Harman, Matthew D. Church, Salt Lake City, for appellees

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

          OPINION

          HIMONAS, JUSTICE

         INTRODUCTION

         ¶1 Can a Utah resident, injured in Utah by an Arizona municipal employee, file a claim against that employee and the municipality after the time to do so has expired under Arizona law but not under Utah law? The answer lies in principles of comity, which create a rebuttable presumption that in circumstances like these, our courts enforce our sister states' laws unless they violate Utah public policy.

         ¶2 Arizona's law is not so violative. Therefore, we agree with the district court that comity should be extended and hold that the district court properly dismissed Galindo's claim for failure to timely file a notice of claim.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶3 On September 9, 2016, Tamara Galindo, a Utah resident, and Jerolyn Byrne were involved in a motor vehicle accident in Orem, Utah. The parties stipulated that at the time of the accident, Byrne was acting in the course and scope of her employment with the City of Flagstaff, Arizona (City).

         ¶4 Three hundred and sixty-four days after the accident, on September 8, 2017, Galindo served a notice of claim on the City, complying with the Governmental Immunity Act of Utah's one-year notice of claim period that applies in suits against Utah municipalities. Utah Code § 63G-7-402. The City and Byrne moved to dismiss, arguing that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because Galindo did not serve her notice of claim within six months as required by Arizona's Actions Against Public Entities or Public Employees Statute (Statute or Arizona Statute)-Arizona's governmental immunity statute. See Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-821.01. The City argued that the district court should apply the Statute as a matter of comity. The district court agreed, applying the Arizona Statute and ruling that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because Galindo failed to comply with the Statute's six-month notice of claim requirement. Galindo appealed.

         ¶5 We exercise jurisdiction under Utah Code section 78A-3-102(3)(j).

         STANDARD ...


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