Utah Law Developments, 1019 UTBJ, Vol. 32, No. 5. 22

Authorby Rodney R. Parker, Dani Cepernich, Robert Cummings, Nathanael Mitchell, Adam Pace, and Andrew Roth.
PositionVol. 32 5 Pg. 22

Utah Law Developments

Vol. 32 No. 5 Pg. 22

Utah Bar Journal

October, 2019

September, 2019

Appellate Highlights

by Rodney R. Parker, Dani Cepernich, Robert Cummings, Nathanael Mitchell, Adam Pace, and Andrew Roth.

Editor's Note: The following appellate cases of interest were recently decided by the Utah Supreme Court, Utah Court of Appeals, and United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, The following summaries have been prepared by the authoring attorneys listed above, who are solely responsible for their content

Keystone Insurance Agency, LLC v. Inside Insurance, LLC 2019 UT 20 (May 29, 2019)

In this dispute over an operating agreement, the Utah Supreme Court affirmed the district court's grant of a motion in limine excluding the plaintiffs damages evidence. The plaintiff failed to comply with the damages disclosure requirements of Rule 26, where it did not provide any damages computation or identify a theory or methodology of damages during fact discovery, and disclosed the same for the first time at the end of expert discovery.

Kuchcinski v. Box Elder County 2019 UT 21 (June 3, 2019)

Following dismissal of Section 1983 claims in federal court, a state court dismissed claims against a county and county sheriffs office alleging violation of right to bail and due process based upon failing to show a flagrant violation or to identify a specific employee that violated his rights. In reversing and remanding the due process claim, the Supreme Court held that a plaintiff need not identify a specific employee in order to demonstrate a flagrant violation of his or her constitutional rights. A plaintiff need only "plead and prove against the municipality that municipal actors committed a flagrant violation against the plaintiff and that the violation resulted from a policy or custom of the municipality."

Rutherford v. Talisker Canyons Finance Co. 2019 UT 27 (June 27, 2019)

In reviewing a denial of summary judgment for the owners of the Canyons Resort, the Utah Supreme Court took the opportunity to evaluate two prior decisions dealing with personal injury liability arising from recreational activities. First, although the decision was technically superseded by a subsequent statute, the court unanimously upheld the reasoning of Hawkins ex rel Hawkins v Peart, 2001 UT 94, 37 P.3d 1062. The court held that, absent specific legislative enactments to the contrary, preinjury releases signed by parents on behalf of minors are against public policy and unenforceable as a matter of law.

A majority of the court also reaffirmed the interpretation of Utah's Inherent Risks of Skiing Act laid out in Clover v. Snowbird Ski Resort, 808 P.2d 1037 (Utah 1991), but "streamline[d]" Clover's two-step interpretive test by collapsing it into a single reasonableness inquiry. In a lengthy partial dissent, Associate Chief Justice Lee argued that Clover's test is incompatible with the plain statutory text, unworkable in practical terms, and ripe for overruling.

Gardner v. Gardner 2019 UT 28 (June 27, 2019)

The district court reduced the amount of alimony awarded to the wife based on wife's "fault" that "substantially contributed" to the demise of the marriage. The Utah Supreme Court interpreted the statutory requirement that the fault "substantially contributed to the breakup of the marriage" to mean that the conduct at issue must be an important or...

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