The Appellate Group

Zilleruelo v. Commodity Transporters

Zilleruelo v. Commodity Transporters, 2022 UT 1 (Pearce, J.)

Preservation; Arbitration

Four years after Plaintiff was hit by a commercial truck driver, Plaintiff sought to sue the transportation company (Defendants), who moved for summary judgment on the basis that Plaintiff’s law suit was untimely. Plaintiff argued that the Tolling Statute, Utah Code § 78B-2-108(1)–(2), tolled the statute of limitations during the year in which he was mentally incompetent following the accident. The district court read the statute to toll the running of the limitations period only when a plaintiff is both mentally incompetent and without a legal guardian, and it deemed Plaintiff to have had a legal guardian. It therefore granted summary judgment to Defendants. On appeal, the Utah Supreme Court reversed:

  • The plain language of the Tolling Statute tolls the limitations period when a person is mentally incompetent, regardless of whether they have a legal guardian. Only the first subsection contains the language “without a legal guardian,” and this subsection prohibits a mentally incompetent individual from initiating a claim “without a legal guardian.” In contrast, the second subsection provides that a statute of limitation will not run against a mentally incompetent individual “[d]uring the time that [the] individual is . . . mentally incompetent.” As there is no requirement in the second subsection that the individual be without a legal guardian, the district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants.

Read the full court opinion