The Appellate Group

Osguthorpe v. Rudd

Osguthorpe v. Rudd, 2021 UT 23 (Pearce, J.)


When Dr. Osguthorpe passed, he left much of his Children’s expected inheritance to his second wife, June, and his alma mater. Children asserted claims against attorney David Rudd, June’s nephew, and law firm Ballard Spahr. After years of litigation, Dr. Osguthorpe’s Children appealed three orders of the district court. On direct appeal, The Utah Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding:

  • The district court erred when it dismissed Children’s tort claim for Intentional Interference with Inheritance (III) because it believed the tort was not recognized in Utah. Utah recognizes a claim at common law for III, consistent with the elements the Third Restatement of Torts describes. But the Inheritance Tort “is not available to a plaintiff who had the right to seek a remedy for the same claim” under Utah’s Probate Code.
  • The district court erred when it dismissed the III claim because it believed the issues raised by it would be resolved by the probate action. It is not apparent on the record that they will.
  • The district court did not abuse its considerable discretion in concluding that the special fiduciary in charge of any potential litigation should remain as fiduciary.
  • The district court erred when it granted Rudd’s motion in limine under Utah Rule of Evidence 408.
  • Heads up: The Court clarified many points of many laws in this 54-page opinion.

Read the full court opinion