The Appellate Group

Pinder v. Duchesne County Sheriff

Pinder v. Duchesne County Sheriff, 2020 UT 68 (Himonas, J.)


In 1998, law enforcement seized property from the Pinders’ ranch while the Pinders’ Son was being investigated for murder. Son was convicted in 2000, but the State refused to returned the seized property. The Pinders brought several actions seeking return of their property. In an action in the Third District, the court dismissed the Pinders’ claims on summary judgment. In an action in the Fourth District, the Pinders had their property returned to them (in 2017), but the court denied the Pinders’ request for attorney fees. The Third and Fourth District cases were consolidated on appeal. The Utah Supreme Court affirmed both cases, holding:

  1. In the Third District case, the Pinders did not show that the district court miscalculated the accrual dates of their causes of action. The majority of those causes of action fell under the purview of the Utah Government Immunity Act, and the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over those claims because the Pinders did not file a timely notice of claim. The remaining claims not covered by the Act were barred by the statute of limitations. 
  2. In the Fourth District case, the State was not immune under the Act from the Pinders’ claim seeking attorney fees for loss of property. But the Pinders were not entitled to fees because they did not show that the State acted in bad faith, thus warranting fees under Utah Code § 78B-5-825.

Read the full court opinion