Fitzgerald v. Spearhead Investments, LLCAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court held that the equitable estoppel doctrine offers a discrete basis for tolling a statute of limitations in Utah.
Owners executed a trust deed note with Alpine East Investors, LLC for certain property and promised to pay the note in full within two years. The promise was not fulfilled. After the foreclosure limitations period had expired, Owners sought to enjoin Alpine East from foreclosing its trust deed on the property and a determination that Alpine East had no valid interest in the property. Alpine East invoked the doctrine of equitable estoppel seeking to toll the limitations period. Owners argued that equitable estoppel is not a stand-alone basis for defeating a statute of limitations defense. The district court granted summary judgment for Owners, declaring that the limitations period for enforcing the trust deed had expired before Alpine East recorded a notice of default or filed an action to foreclose. Thereafter, the court granted Alpine East's Rule 59 motion to revise the ruling, concluding that findings of fact existed precluding summary judgment. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the district court, holding (1) equitable estoppel is a discrete basis for tolling a statute of limitations; but (2) a mere promise to pay, without more, is insufficient to invoke equitable estoppel.