A 3rd District judge in Coalville will have to take a second crack at his jury instructions in a case pitting The Family Jewels of Park City against its building owner.
The Utah Supreme Court has overturned a jury's decision in favor of the gem and art gallery, which is trying to hold onto its prominent location on Park City's Main Street.The high-court decision sends the dispute back to 3rd District Court for a new trial on whether owner William H. Geisdorf is lawfully occupying his shop.
Geisdorf bought the jewelry business from building owner Mary Doughty in 1992 and merged it with his White Wolf Gallery. Under his three-year lease with Doughty, Geisdorf had options to renew the lease for two additional terms of five years.
The lease required him to give Doughty written notice four months prior to its first expiration in August 1995. Geisdorf missed the deadline. After Doughty proposed negotiations for a new lease, he filed a lawsuit contending he was legally entitled to stay in the building for an additional five years.
Doughty unsuccessfully tried to evict him, then filed her own claim, arguing he was illegally staying in the building.
At trial, Judge Pat Brian instructed the jury that Geisdorf was only required to "substantially comply" with the lease, and jurors found he had done so.
But on appeal, Chief Justice Richard Howe ruled the jury instruction was wrong.