Ravell Call, Deseret News
CENTERVILLE — The Utah Court of Appeals has sent a decision regarding the development of a frontage road near the Legacy Parkway back to a lower court for further review.
Hillcrest Investment Company, LLC, sued the Utah Department of Transportation in 2008 claiming breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The company claimed UDOT backed out of an agreement to build a frontage road that would have provided necessary access to undeveloped property.
That undeveloped land was at the center of a long legal battle between UDOT and the Sierra Club, which wanted to protect what it called a "high functioning" wetlands area.
After the Legacy Parkway was finished, UDOT announced the frontage road was no longer in its plans "due to 'extensive litigation with the environmental community' and other delays involving the Legacy Parkway," according to documents filed in 2nd District Court.
After Hillcrest sued, UDOT asked for summary judgment and argued in court that because its 2002 agreement was with Horman Trusts (the owners of condemned properties in Centerville), Hillcrest did not have standing to file a claim. Hillcrest argued it was a beneficiary of the trust.
The district court judge sided with UDOT. But the appellate court has now remanded the decision back to the lower court, saying there is enough evidence for at least a hearing on whether Hillcrest had legal standing.
Once a decision is made about whether Hillcrest has standing to sue, then the other issues can be decided.
"Because the resolution of whether Hillcrest has standing also is determinative of this court’s jurisdiction over the matter, we defer consideration of the district court’s ruling on Hillcrest’s substantive claims," according to court documents.
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