Zeller v. NixonAnnotate this Case
In this personal injury action arising out of an automobile accident, Robert and Terri Zeller filed a complaint against Charlotte Nixon alleging claims for negligence and loss of consortium. The Zellers submitted their claims for arbitration under Utah Code 31A-22-321, which provides that the election of arbitration stands unless a notice of rescission is filed within ninety days. After the ninety-day rescission period had passed, the Zellers moved to amend their complaint to add a claim for negligent entrustment against Nixon & Nixon, Inc. Nixon opposed the motion to amend and filed a motion to compel arbitration. The district court denied the motion to compel arbitration, concluding that the Zellers were justified in seeking the amendment, thus freeing the Zellers of the statutory limitations on their claims against Nixon and allowing their claims to proceed against Nixon & Nixon. The Supreme Court (1) reversed as to the claims against Nixon, as those claims were irretrievably subject to arbitration given the Zellers’ failure to rescind their election of arbitration within ninety days; and (2) affirmed as to the claims against Nixon & Nixon, holding that the Zellers’ earlier election of arbitration as to their claim against Nixon did not encompass their subsequent claim against the corporation.