Utah Supreme Court steps into child bride’s lawsuit

Posted at 11:13 AM, May 28, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court is stepping into a former child bride’s multi-million dollar lawsuit against polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.

In an order issued Tuesday and obtained by FOX 13, the state’s top court agreed to hear an appeal by lawyers for the United Effort Plan (UEP) Trust — the real-estate holdings arm of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.

Read the Utah Supreme Court’s order here:

The UEP Trust has asked the Utah Supreme Court to dismiss Wall’s lawsuit, arguing it cannot be held liable for the conduct of Warren Jeffs.

Wall is suing Jeffs, the FLDS Church and the court-controlled UEP Trust for as much as $40 million. Earlier this month, lawyers for the UEP Trust asked a judge to dismiss the case on other grounds, claiming a “secret deal” between Wall and her ex-husband.

The lawsuit has attracted the attention of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, which told FOX 13 it is looking into the allegations. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes’ office is also investigating a former member of the FLDS Church who admitted to marrying an underage girl while giving a deposition in Wall’s lawsuit.

Wall claims Jeffs forced her at age 14 to marry her cousin, Allen Steed. She was the star witness at his trial here in Utah on charges of rape as an accomplice.  His conviction was later overturned by the Utah Supreme Court.

Jeffs is now serving a life, plus 20-year sentence in a Texas prison on child sex assault charges related to underage marriages.

Judge Keith Kelly has scheduled a nine-day trial in Wall’s lawsuit beginning January 20, 2015.