Munford v. Bienkowski

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Munford v. Bienkowski,Case No. 20000660-CA, F I L E D November 23, 2001



Linda Munford,
Plaintiff and Appellant,


Mariusz Bienkowski,
Defendant and Appellee.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 20000660-CA

(November 23, 2001)

2001 UT App 356




Third District, Salt Lake Department
The Honorable Glenn K. Iwasaki

Linda Munford, Salt Lake City, Appellant Pro Se
J. Kent Holland, Salt Lake City, for Appellee


Before Judges Billings, Orme, and Thorne.


Appellant Linda Munford appeals from the denial of her motion pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure seeking to set aside a settlement agreement and the resulting dismissal of her case.

A party seeking to set aside a contract on the basis that it was executed under duress must show (1) that the other party committed a wrongful act, (2) which put the party seeking to set aside the contract in fear, (3) such as to compel him or her to act against his or her will. See Fox v. Piercey, 227 P.2d 763, 766 (Utah 1951). The distress or fear that induced Munford to compromise her claims against appellee Mariusz Bienkowski through the settlement agreement resulted from her incarceration on unrelated criminal charges and her desire to be released on an ankle monitor. This situation was unrelated to any conduct by Bienkowski. Instead, her choice to compromise her claims was dictated by her own needs and her desire to obtain release from jail. She asserts that Bienkowski was only entitled to mutual dismissal of the protective orders obtained by each party and his act of obtaining settlement of the remaining claims between the parties was "morally wrong." However, Bienkowski was under no obligation to agree to mutual dismissal of the protective orders. Her assertion that she had no "reasonable alternative" but to comply with Bienkowski's demands resulted from of her conviction and resulting incarceration and not from any wrongful act on his part. Thus, Munford has not satisfied the burden of demonstrating that Bienkowski committed a wrongful act that put her in fear and caused her to act against her will.

Accordingly, we affirm the district court's denial of the Rule 60(b) motion to set aside the settlement agreement and dismissal.


Judith M. Billings, Judge

Gregory K. Orme, Judge

William A. Thorne, Jr., Judge