The Appellate Group

Graves v. Utah County

Graves v. Utah County, 2023 UT App 73 (Christiansen Forster, J.)

Civil Procedure

Former Utah County Commissioner, Greg Graves, was the subject of an independent investigation looking into claims that Graves had sexually harassed and retaliated against a Utah County employee. After a press conference where the other commissioners publicly named him and asked him to resign, Graves sued the County, the Commissioners, and the Employee for false light invasion of privacy, defamation, slander/libel per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The district court granted a motion to dismiss Graves’s complaints. The court of appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding:

  • The district court erred when it dismissed Graves’s claims based on governmental immunity, because Graves’s complaint sufficiently pleaded facts necessary to show that Employee and the Commissioners intentionally defamed him.
  • Practice tip:To bring a constitutional challenge to a Utah statute, a claimant must notify the Utah Attorney General of the challenge under Utah Code § 78B-6-403(3).
  • Practice tip: Governmental immunity is waived for individual employees when they commit willful misconduct by making and maliciously repeating false claims, as Graves has alleged happened here.

Read the full court opinion