The Appellate Group

Larson v. Stauffer

Larson v. Stauffer, 2022 UT App 108 (Hagen, J.)


Wife (Denise Larson) entered into a settlement agreement with Neighbors (the Stauffers), under which she agreed to remove her shed from Neighbors’ property within six months, and she and Neighbors agreed to mutual anti-harassment provisions. Husband (Brook Larson) was not a party to the agreement. Wife removed the shed four days after the six-month deadline. Wife and Husband subsequently sued Neighbors for breach of the anti-harassment provisions and for various tort claims. The district court granted summary judgment to Neighbors, ruling that Wife failed as a matter of law to perform under the contract and that the tort claims were barred by the economic loss rule. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed, holding:

  • Whether Wife substantially performed or whether she committed a material breach of the contract under the first breach rule are questions of fact, which could not be resolved as questions of law by the district court under the facts of this case.
  • Because Husband was not a party to the settlement agreement, his tort claims against the Neighbors were not barred by the economic loss rule, which bars tort claims between parties to a contract regarding the subject matter of the contract. 

Read the full court opinion