The Appellate Group

Duke Capital v. Proctor

Duke Capital v. Proctor, 2023 UT App 59 (Luthy, J.)

Civil Procedure/Arbitration

The note was later sold to Duke Capital bought Proctor’s promissory note containing an arbitration provision. Proctor stopped making payments on the loan, and Duke sued. Proctor filed a pro se answer but did not respond to Duke’s motion for summary judgment. The district court denied Duke’s motion, invoked the arbitration provision, concluded the court did not have jurisdiction, and dismissed the case. Duke appealed. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, holding:

  • The district court erred by sua sponte invoking the arbitration provision and concluding it divested the court of jurisdiction. The court’s error did not amount to judicial misconduct. 
  • The district court also erred by denying the motion for summary judgment.
  • Practice Tip: Counsel’s expression of feelings of judicial bias was unprofessional where the only apparent basis for them was the court’s identification of a legal concern, coupled with its invitation for counsel to address that concern. 
  • Judicial Tip: A district court may not sua sponte invoke an arbitration agreement.

Read the full court opinion