Mortensen addressed each named party individually, first dismissing the action against the Utah County Sheriff's Office as an agency "subordinate" to Utah County. He then dismissed the claims against Utah County on the grounds that they "did not owe a duty" to the woman, because she was not a specifically identifiable person under the law and because she failed to show that Leonard was someone who was especially dangerous compared to others in custody.
"Plaintiff claims that defendants owed a duty to young women, but does not include any facts that demonstrate how Leonard's words or conduct identified that group as being a group to which he was particularly dangerous," the ruling states.
Because the judge found no duty was owed by the county, he said he did not need to include the assertion of governmental immunity, but did note that immunity does cover an agency when an injury results from assault or battery.
The judge also found Universal Industrial Sales Inc. and Intermountain Staffing did not owe a duty to the woman.
Stultz said he hopes the appeal will answer questions brought in the case that he feels need to be addressed.
"When we took the case on, I can tell you that we thought it was a difficult case because of the issue of immunity and that it was a novel kind of question, but we felt, under the circumstances of what she faced, that we had to take the case," he said. "There are some unique issues that need to be dealt with and governmental immunity questions and issues of negligence."
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