FLDS Petitions Denied by Utah Supreme Court
Just got word that all of the FLDS petitions from earlier this year that were being considered by the Utah Supreme Court have been denied — except one issue related to the distribution of Trust property — which was found not to be ripe yet for consideration since Trust property has not been distributed.
Indeed, while the FLDS Association disagrees with the district court’s application of the law, the court’s motive appears to be protection of the beneficiaries’ charitable interests, not defiance of FLDS Association members’ rights under the Trust.
In sum, many individuals have relied upon the district court’s final order from over three years ago, and the FLDS Association has given no adequate explanation for its delay in appealing or otherwise petitioning for relief. The FLDS Association has shown a lack of diligence in challenging the modification of the Trust, and this lack of diligence has operated to the detriment of others. The FLDS Association offersno adequate explanation for its delay and no other circumstancesexist that might make us otherwise hesitant to apply laches.Accordingly, we dismiss the FLDS Association’s Trust modification claims pursuant to the doctrine of laches.
The FLDS Association does not allege that either the district court or special fiduciary has actually used religion as a factor in determining how to parse out property. It does not cite any instance where an active FLDS member received a lesser delegation of property because of his or her religious beliefs. So , the FLDS Association does not assert an ” actual ” clash of legal rights . And given the district court ‘s and the special fiduciary’s assertions both in district court hearings and at oral argument in this case that a religious test would not be imposed–a position the FLDS Association acknowledges the special fiduciary has taken–such a clash does not seem “imminent,” but rather merely “hypothetical.” At most, the discussions the FLDS Association cites evince a concern shared by the district court and the special fiduciary that, without careful planning, Trust distributions could lead to the creation of a new trust containing many of the same attributes that have, on more than one .occasion , landed the UEP Trust in Utah courts. But this does not mean that the district court “actually” has or “imminently” will use religion to discriminate against FLDS members, so this last claim is not ripe for our review.