Amjacs Interwest, Inc. v. Design Associates

Decision Date23 July 1981
Docket NumberNo. 17196,17196
Citation635 P.2d 53
PartiesAMJACS INTERWEST, INC., Plaintiff and Appellant, v. DESIGN ASSOCIATES, a partnership, Unico, Inc., a corporation, Carl Smith, Gerald Granquist, Richard Fletcher, and Gordon Steed, Defendants and Respondents.
CourtUtah Supreme Court

Alan L. Sullivan, Ann L. Wassermann, Salt Lake City, for plaintiff and appellant.

Erik M. Ward, Roger S. Dutson, Ogden, for defendants and respondents.

STEWART, Justice:

This is an appeal by plaintiff Amjacs Interwest, Inc. from a summary judgment entered against it and in favor of defendant Carl Smith.

Amjacs brought this action seeking to recover for goods and services provided on an open account to Design Associates, a Utah partnership, not a party to this appeal. Judgment by default was obtained against Design Associates and two of its partners who, likewise, are not parties to this appeal. One of the partners in Design Associates was Unico, Inc., which is a corporation solely owned by defendant Carl Smith, respondent on this appeal.

Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment against Unico and Smith to establish that both Unico and Smith were partners in Design Associates, and thus individually liable for the partnership debts. Smith filed a cross-motion for summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the action as to him on the ground that he was not a partner in Design Associates. The district court granted plaintiff's motion as against Unico, denied the motion as to Smith, and granted Smith's motion and dismissed the complaint as to him.

Plaintiff raises two points on appeal. The first is that the district court erred in granting Smith's motion for summary judgment because there exist significant material issues of fact with regard to Smith's participation in Design Associates. Second, plaintiff maintains that it is entitled to an evidentiary hearing with respect to its claim that Unico, Inc. is the alter-ego of Carl Smith, and hence the corporate entity should be disregarded.

Rule 56(c), Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, provides that summary judgment is appropriate if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, and affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material issue of fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, e. g., Jensen v. Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Company, Utah, 611 P.2d 363 (1980); Livingston Industries, Inc. v. Walker Bank & Trust Co., Utah, 565 P.2d 1117 (1977). The purpose of summary judgment is to eliminate the time, trouble, and expense of trial when it is clear as a matter of law that the party ruled against is not entitled to prevail. Holbrook Co. v. Adams, Utah, 542 P.2d 191 (1975).

Here the district court determined that Smith could not have been a partner in Design Associates as a matter of law. Plaintiff maintains that there are material issues of fact precluding such a determination. Plaintiff specifically points to the agreement creating the partnership as being at best ambiguous as to the status of Smith with respect to the partnership.

As an initial consideration, we note that the filing of cross-motions for summary judgment does not mean that this case may be finally disposed of as a matter of law. Cross-motions for summary judgment do not ipso facto dissipate factual issues, even though both parties contend for the purposes of their motions that they are entitled to prevail because there are no material issues of fact. Professor Moore in his treatise on Federal Practice states:

The well-settled rule is that cross-motions for summary judgment do not warrant the court in granting summary judgment unless one of the moving parties is entitled to judgment...

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18 cases
  • Menzies v. State
    • United States
    • Utah Supreme Court
    • September 23, 2014
    ...purposes of their motions that they are entitled to prevail because there are no material issues of fact.” Amjacs Interwest, Inc. v. Design Assocs., 635 P.2d 53, 55 (Utah 1981).82 We note that for purposes of its own summary judgment motion the State accepted all of Mr. Menzies's factual al......
  • Territorial Sav. & Loan Ass'n v. Baird
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals
    • September 26, 1989
    ...purposes of their motions that they are entitled to prevail because there are no material issues of fact." Amjacs Interwest, Inc. v. Design Assocs., 635 P.2d 53, 55 (Utah 1981). With the foregoing principles in mind, we review TSL's claim that there are material issues of fact concerning wh......
  • Drew v. Pac. Life Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Utah Supreme Court
    • September 2, 2021
    ...not exist." Plateau Mining Co. v. Utah Div. of State Lands & Forestry , 802 P.2d 720, 725 (Utah 1990) (citing Amjacs Interwest, Inc. v. Design Assocs. , 635 P.2d 53, 55 (Utah 1981) ). "Cross-motions for summary judgment do not ipso facto dissipate factual issues, even though both parties co......
  • Wycalis v. Guardian Title of Utah
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals
    • August 29, 1989
    ...summary judgment saves the parties and the courts the time and expense of a full-blown trial. See, e.g., Amjacs Interwest, Inc. v. Design Assocs., 635 P.2d 53, 54 (Utah 1981). However, summary judgment is appropriate only where "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and ad......
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