Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Timothy v. Pia, Anderson, Dorius, Reynard & Moss, LLC

Supreme Court of Utah

December 16, 2019

Paul Timothy and Janice Timothy, Petitioners,
v.
Pia, Anderson, Dorius, Reynard & Moss, LLC, and Brennan Moss, Respondents.

          Heard December 12, 2018

         On Certiorari to the Utah Court of Appeals

          Third District, Salt Lake The Honorable Todd M. Shaughnessy No. 120905780

          Nelson Abbott, Provo, for petitioners

          J. Ryan Mitchell, John P. Mertens, William O. Kimball, Salt Lake City, for respondents

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

          OPINION

          Petersen, Justice

         INTRODUCTION

         ¶1 We granted certiorari in this case to address whether a law firm that deposited funds from a client into its trust account is a "transferee" under the former Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (UFTA).[1] However, while this case was before the court of appeals, Petitioners allowed the judgment that formed the basis of their fraudulent-transfer claim to expire. Respondents filed a suggestion of mootness with this court. They argue that Petitioners have no remedy under the UFTA because they are no longer creditors, so even if Petitioners were to prevail on the transferee issue, it would not affect their rights.

         ¶2 We agree and dismiss the petition as moot. We further vacate the judgment of the court of appeals because Petitioners' fraudulent-transfer claim became moot before that court's opinion was issued. The judgment of the district court stands.

         BACKGROUND[2]

         ¶3 Paul and Janice Timothy prevailed in a lawsuit against Thomas and Teri Keetch for, among other things, fraud and breach of contract. The Timothys obtained a judgment against the Keetches on May 6, 2009.[3] But they were never able to collect it.

         ¶4 The record indicates that the Keetches took measures to avoid paying this debt, including depositing their money into an account held in a minor son's name.[4] Despite this, the Keetches testified at a supplemental hearing in March 2011 that they had no assets. And Brennan Moss, an attorney with the law firm of Pia, Anderson, Dorius, Reynard & Moss (PADRM), wrote letters stating that the Keetches did not have significant assets.

         ¶5 Although the Keetches claimed to have no assets, less than a week after the supplemental hearing, PADRM deposited into its trust account (IOLTA)[5] a check for $50, 000 drawn from the minor's bank account. The check had been written over a month earlier, and its memo line read: "Terry Keetch." With representation from Moss, the Keetches later used $20, 000 from those funds to make a down payment on a house.

         ¶6 The Timothys tried to access the proceeds in the IOLTA by obtaining a writ of garnishment against PADRM that required the firm to hold all funds owned by the Keetches.[6] But PADRM twice refused to accept service of the writ. And by the time it did accept service, the Keetches had moved all of their money out of the IOLTA.

         ¶7 Finally, in August 2012, the Timothys sued both Moss and PADRM, alleging various theories of fraudulent transfer under the UFTA, civil conspiracy, and wrongful conduct.

         ¶8 Respondents filed a motion for partial summary judgment in the district court, arguing that they were not "transferees" under the UFTA and were thus immune from liability on the fraudulent-transfer claims. The district court agreed and granted Respondents' motion, holding:

Because the relevant provisions of the Utah Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act were modeled on federal Bankruptcy law, the court is persuaded that "transferee" as used in the Act is most logically defined in the manner it has been defined in the Bankruptcy context. That is, a "transferee" must exercise dominion or control over the transferred asset. Here, [defendants] did not-and could not- exercise dominion and control over funds held in the firm's trust account. . . . Accordingly, [defendants were] not "transferee[s]" within the meaning of the Act and the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.