Bullock v. Utah Department of Transportation

In Bullock v. Utah Department of Transportation, 966 P.2d 1215 (Utah Ct. App. 1998), the plaintiff's cause of action arose from a sale to the State of real property belonging to a partnership to which plaintiff belonged. See id. at 1216-17. Although plaintiff accepted payment from the sale, he later brought suit against the State alleging the sale was improper. See id. Because plaintiff did not file within the one-year statute of limitations under the Governmental Immunity Act, he attempted to recharacterize his claim as one for breach of contract under section 63-30-5, which would be exempt from the one-year statute of limitations. In Bullock, the court noted that plaintiff was not in fact arguing that the State injured him by breaching a contract to which he was a party; rather, plaintiff claimed that the sale was invalid because it violated the partnership agreement between himself and his other partners. The court concluded that "the core of appellant's claim against the State is not that the State violated his contractual rights but that the State is in wrongful possession of appellant's property." Id. at 1218. Therefore, the court of appeals held that plaintiff's claim did not fall under section 63-30-5 and was not exempt from the one-year limitation.