The Appellate Group

Nassi v. Hatsis

Nassi v. Hatsis, 2023 UT App 9 (Tenney, J.)

Child Welfare

Nassi stored personal items in a storage unit he believed belonged to him. Hatsis was told the same storage unit belonged to him and discarded Nassi’s property when it he found it in the unit. Nassi sued Hatsis for conversion, trespass to chattels, and IIED. He also asked for punitive damages. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Hatsis on all of Nassi’s claims. But the Utah Court of Appeals reversed in part, holding:

  • The district court erred in dismissing the conversion and trespass to chattels claims. A jury could conclude that Hatsis acted unreasonably by throwing out the property despite having other less destructive options available to him.
  • The district court did not err in dismissing the IIED claim, because discarding property is not so outrageous and vile that it evokes revulsion.
  • Practice Point: Punitive damages may be granted in connection with a claim of conversion and do not require the claim of IIED to be in play.
  • Practice Point: The Behrens v. Raleigh Hills Hospital, Inc., 675 P.2d 1179 (Utah 1983), and Nguyen v. IHC Health Services, 2010 UT App 85, requirements for a showing of punitive damages are suspect if not overruled.

Read the full court opinion