Significant Utah Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Decisions for 1989

JurisdictionUtah,United States
CitationVol. 3 No. 3 Pg. 10
Publication year1990
Significant Utah Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Decisions for 1989
Vol. 3 No. 3 Pg. 10
Utah Bar Journal
March, 1990

Michael Zimmerman, Justice Remarks of Utah Supreme Court, and Judge Gregory Orme, Utah Court of Appeals, given at the January 1990 Salt Lake County Bar Luncheon Reported by Clark R. Nielsen

Over 400 attorneys gathered at the January Salt Lake County Bar Luncheon to hear two prominent judges, Justice Michael Zimmerman, Utah Supreme Court, and Judge Greg Orme, Utah Court of Appeals, review significant 1989 appellate decisions. The Marriott Hotel's banquet facilities were packed not only because of the vital topics discussed, but also because of the advent of mandatory CLE as a January 1, 1990 (lawyers in attendance received one hour of CLE credit).

Justice Zimmerman and Judge Orme were introduced by Salt Lake County Bar President Judith M. Billings, also an appeals court judge. With a smile, she cautioned Bar practitioners that the holding in opinions by Justice Zimmerman are most likely found in his footnotes. Justice Zimmerman and Judge Orme spent the next hour discussing 1989 cases felt by their courts to be the most significant. Other cases were identified in handouts, but were not discussed because of time limitations.

In a preface to his case comments, Justice Zimmerman added that 1989 was a busy year in the Supreme Court's effort to cut delay and the number of cases under submission. "Things are getting better, " he said. "We are now more selective of our cases in areas we want to write in."

In 1989, Supreme Court cases selected by the Justices and compiled by Justice Zimmerman in general areas of law are:


Cottam v. Heppner, 777 P.2d 468 (availability of deficiency judgment after an article 9 sale of secured property).

Guardian State Bank v. Stangl, 778 P.2d I (liability on promissory note).


These cases indicate a continuing trend by the court to apply constitutional provisions to resolve issues arising out of "economic legislation." Justice Zimmerman observed that when a fundamental right is affronted, the burden of persuasion is on the legislation proponent and not its challenger. Our Utah equal protection test, as applied in these cases, appears more stringent than federal criteria.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield v. State, 779 P.2d 634 (constitutionality of premium tax).

Condemarin v. University Hospital, 779 P.2d 348 (constitutionality of recovery limits statutes).

Horton v. Goldminer's Daughter, 118 Utah Adv. Rep. 37. Valley Water Beds v. Herm Hughes & Sons, 118 Utah Adv. Rep. 37 (constitutionality of architect's and builder's statute of repose).


Allen Steele v. Crossroads Plaza, 119 Utah Adv. Rep. 6 (breach of warranty involving "design/build" contract).

Slusher v. Ospital, 777 P.2d 437 ("Mary Carter agreements"—although in this case such an agreement was not involved).


Hurst v. Cook, 777 P.2d 1029 (habeas corpus).

State v. Albretsen, 120 Utah Adv. Rep. 16 (admission of mug shots into evidence).

State v. Bell, 122 Utah Adv. Rep. 7 (mens rea in second degree felony murder).

State v. Bruce, 779 P.2d 646 (Utah Rule of Evidence 609(a), applied to settle some disagreement in the Court of Appeals as to what was a crime of dishonest or false statement).

State v. Bullock, 119 Utah Adv. Rep. 32 (admission of child sex abuse victim's out of court statements).

State v. Cantu, 778 P.2d 517 (discriminatory use of pre-emptory challenge).


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