Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

Series 3635

District Court (Fifth District : Washington County) Civil case files

Dates: 1896-

35.00 cubic feet and 45 microfilm reelsSkip to Containers

These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Historical Note

An agency history is available.

Scope and Content

These case files from the Fifth District Court in Washington County document the legal process and the administration of justice in conjunction with a civil proceeding for the determination of a controversy between parties wherein rights are enforced or protected, or wrongs are prevented or redressed. Included are all cases which cannot legally be called "criminal cases." Records and documents pertaining to a particular action are filed together by the court clerk, who is required by the Rules of Civil Procedure to file pleadings and other legal papers. Collectively they constitute the case file.

A civil action commences with the filing of a complaint with the court or by service to the defendant of a summons together with a copy of the complaint. A unique case number is assigned by the court when the papers are filed with the clerk. The case file for a particular action includes the original complaint or summons together with all legal papers subsequently filed in connection with the court proceeding through disposition or dismissal. Included are such documents as: depositions (or written testimony), demurrers (which are pleas for the dismissal of a lawsuit on the grounds that even if the statements of the opposition are true, they do not sustain the claim), interrogatories (a pretrial discovery tool in which written questions are propounded by one party and served to the adversary, who must answer by written replies made under oath), answers, counter claims, replies, motions, petitions, affidavits (written statements made under oath before an officer of the court, notary public, or other authorized person), stipulations (an agreement between attorneys that concerns business before a court and is designed to simplify, shorten, or settle litigation and save costs), exhibit documents (written contracts, bills, receipts, etc.), notices, objections, citations, sheriff's certificates, judge's orders and rulings, judge's instructions to the jury, judge's findings of fact and conclusions of law, final decrees, judgments, and executions (the process of carrying into effect a court's judgment, decree, or order).

Demurrers, pleas, and exceptions for insufficiency were abolished in 1953. Transcripts (an official and certified copy of what transpired in court or at an out-of-court deposition) and exhibits (items of real evidence) are not included in the case files.

Petitions for divorce are the predominant type of action in the civil case files. Suits to recover money are also common. These actions arise out of failure to honor promissory notes or other contract terms and non- payment of rent, lease payments, and court-ordered judgments. Attempts by plaintiffs to recover medical costs and lost income arising out of personal injury cases resulting from alleged carelessness or neglect appear frequently. These include traffic mishaps or accidents involving neighbors, employees, or business customers. Property cases include disputed ownership, damage, and contested improvements.

Legal actions include voluntary withdrawal or dissolution of corporations as well as petitions for a writ of habeas corpus (a court order requiring that a prisoner be brought before a judge to decide the legality of his detention or imprisonment). Court business (grand jury lists and reports, orders summoning persons to serve as jurors, various writs, etc.) have also been assigned civil case numbers.

According to statute, the district court has jurisdiction in all civil matters not excepted by the state constitution and not prohibited by law. During each calendar year the court is required to hold at least three terms at the county seat of each county within the district. The county clerk in each county serves as ex- officio clerk to the court and is responsible for maintaining the case files for actions arising in that county.

Responsibility for cases involving minimal monetary claims was reassigned to the newly created small claims departments of inferior courts in 1933. When inferior courts have original jurisdiction, the district court is limited to hearing appeals. Included are violations of city and town ordinances, as well as minor traffic laws, where a City Court or Justice of the Peace Court is established. Upon receipt of an appeal, the district court conducts a complete retrial of the case.

Arrangement

Numerical by case number.

Related Records

Civil registers of actions from the District Court (Fifth District : Washington County), Series 18193, contain alphabetical indexes at the beginning of each individual volume which can be used to identify the case file numbers needed to access this series.

Register of actions from the District Court (Fifth District : Washington County), Series 23737, is a register for criminal and probate cases as well as civil cases from 1895-1899.

Index to civil and criminal actions from the District Court (Fifth District : Washington County), Series 26247, s an index for civil and criminal cases from 1896-1937. The researcher should also consult the holdings of the First and Second District Courts, and of the Washington County Probate Court, for civil case records from Washington County during the territorial period

Judgment record books from the District Court (Fifth District : Washington County), Series 26330, contains the entire case file documented in the judgments recorded in this series.

Custody History

All case files created between 1896 and 1955 were transferred to the Utah State Archives in 2007. For access to case files post-1955 researchers should contact the clerk of the Fifth District Court in Washington County.

Additional Forms

This series is available on microfilm.

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public.

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Gaps in Series

In December 2009 case file 281 was found in the court and was mailed to the State Archives. The case file has been added to the physical holdings but has not been microfilmed.

Gaps in Series

In July 2010 the court mailed three boxes to the State Archives containing assorted water rights material covering 1900 to 1935. The material has been added to the physical holdings but has not been microfilmed.

Processing Note

This series was archivally processed by Jim Kichas and Emily Gurr in December 2007 as part of a NHPRC grant project designed to preserve the historic records of Utah's Fifth District Courts.

Indexing Terms

Container List

REEL BOX DATE DESCRIPTION
1 1 1896-1905 1-51
1 2 1906-1909 52-58
2 2 1906-1909 59-71
3 2 1909-1913 72-100
3 3 1909-1913 101-104
4 3 1913-1915 105-134
5 3 1916-1918 135-139
5 4 1916-1918 140-161
6 4 1918-1919 162-199
7 4 1919-1921 200-212
7 5 1919-1921 213-226
8 5 1921-1923 227-289
9 5 1923-1924 290-309
9 6 1923-1924 310-311
10 6 1924-1925 312-335
11 6 1925 336-367
11 7 1925 368
12 7 1925-1926 369-398
13 7 1926-1927 399-434
14 7 1927-1928 435-436
14 8 1927-1928 437-464
15 8 1928-1929 465-494
16 8 1929 495-503
16 9 1929 504-527
17 9 1929-1930 528-570
18 9 1930 571-587
18 10 1930 588-615
19 10 1931-1932 616-672
20 11 1932-1933 673-723
21 11 1934-1934 724-759
21 12 1933-1934 760-767
22 12 1934-1936 768-817
23 12 1935-1936 818-839
23 13 1935-1936 840-869
24 13 1936-1937 870-906
25 14 1937 907-971
26 14 1937-1938 972-992
26 15 1937-1938 993-1069
27 15 1937-1939 1070-1077
27 16 1937-1939 1078-1129
28 16 1939-1940 1130-1154
28 17 1939-1940 1155-1216
29 17 1940-1941 1217-1220
29 18 1940-1941 1221-1244
30 18 1940-1941 1245-1304
30 19 1941-1943 1305-1321
31 19 1941-1943 1322-1379
31 20 1941-1943 1380-1389
32 20 1943-1945 1390-1465
33 20 1945-1946 1466
33 21 1945-1946 1467-1535
34 21 1946-1947 1536-1540
34 22 1946-1947 1541-1597
35 22 1947-1948 1598-1620
35 23 1947-1948 1621-1677
36 23 1948-1949 1678-1690
36 24 1948-1949 1691-1759
37 24 1949-1950 1760-1770
37 25 1949-1950 1771-1839
38 25 1950-1951 1840-1852
38 26 1950-1951 1853-1915
N/A 26 1951-1952 1916-1930
39 27 1951-1952 1931-2003
39 28 1951-1952 2004-2009
40 28 1952 2010-2060
41 28 1952-1953 2061-2080
41 29 1952-1953 2081-2111
42 29 1953-1954 2112-2160
42 30 1953-1954 2161-2192
43 30 1954 2193-2250
43 31 1954 2251-2264
44 31 1954-1955 2265-2335
44 32 1954 2336
45 32 1955 2337-2379
N/A 33 1900-1935 Water Rights Material
N/A 34 1900-1935 Water Rights Material
N/A 35 1900-1935 Water Rights Material