Vassey v Vassey

Mother sought reimbursement of child care expenses from Father under the parties divorce decree. The commissioner applied the general 8 year statute of limitation and laches and ruled most of the claim bared and further ruled certain private school expenses were not recoverable. The panel reversed and remanded. It held that because the statue defining child support is ambiguous, it would look to the statute as a whole and held that child care is part of child support. Thus, the child support statute of limitations applies and the commissioner erred in not applying it. The panel held that the laches ruling was unsupported by any facts and thus had to be reversed. It finally held that some of the extended kindergarten services are recoverable. The case was remanded for further proceedings.

State v Melancon

Melancon was convicted of solicitation and arson. He challenged the district court’s denial of his motion to disqualify the prosecutor and his sentence. The panel affirmed. It held that the disqualification motion was properly denied as Melancon could obtain the desired information from an investigator present during plea negotiations or from the recording of the negotiation session. It also noted the motives for eth prosecutor in offering a plea deal to Melancon’s brother were protected by the work product doctrine. It affirmed the sentence as the elements of solicitation and accomplice liability arson are different as a solicitation conviction does not require an attempted or completed crime. Thus the higher sentence for arson was lawful.

In re C.C.

C.C. appealed the termination of her parental rights. The panel affirmed. It noted that C.C. failed to challenge any of the grounds for termination and thus termination was proper. It also held the best interest of the child were served here as the child had been in one placement for over a year, was well integrated into eh family and the foster parents wish to adopt him.

Mulholland v Department of Workforce Services

Mulholland appealed the denial of his application for unemployment benefits. The panel affirmed. It held that substantial evidence supported the determination that Mulholland quit without good cause as the one incident with his supervisor was resolved by the employer in Mulholland’s favor and Mulholland created any distress for his family by quitting instead of looking for a new job while still employed.

State v Olala

Olala was convicted of DUI. He appealed the denial of his motion for directed verdict and challenging two statements by eh prosecutor at closing argument. The panel affirmed. It held that while there were inconsistencies between the written statements of the sole eyewitness and his testimony at trial, because the trial testimony was not inherently incredible and there was physical evidence of collisions, the directed verdict was properly denied. As to the statements, the panel held one was a fair inference from the testimony of the investigating officer about his interactions with employees of a gas station where Olala hit a light pole and the other statement was harmless error given the corrective instruction form the district court not to use the case to send messages.

State v Thornton

After two mistrials, Thornton was convicted of multiple counts of rape and molestation. He challenged the exclusion of the alleged victim’s sexual history and the admission of bad acts evidence. The panel affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded. It held that the exclusion of victim’s other sexual conduct was correct as Rule of evidence 412 bars introduction of such evidence, a person’s belief she is pregnant is not physical evidence allowing for the admission of past activity, on the facts and circumstances of this case the jury was unlikely to believe victim to be an innocent given her knowledge of her mother’s prostitution in the apartment and no constitutional rights were violated as the state did not take advantage of the sexual innocent presumption and the evidence was unnecessary to challenge the alleged victim’s credibility. The panel held that the district court erred in allowing evidence that Thornton gave the alleged victim’s mother drugs and encouraged her to engage in prostitution because it analyzed them as one bad act instead of two sets of bad acts as required by Utah precedent. The panel noted that the state believed the hung jury at the second trial was because it did not introduce the bad act evidence and thus the verdict in the third trial was likely because of the bad act evidence. The convictions were thus vacated and the case remanded for further proceedings.

DePatco, Inc. v Teton Golf View Estates, LLC

DePatco sued for a declaratory judgment that its secured debt must be paid before the members of Teton can be paid in the dissolution of Teton. The district court ruled that DePatco has priority and the panel affirmed. It held that under Utah Code 48-2c-1308, which applies to limited liability companies formed before 2014 until 2016, the plain language gives nonmember creditors priority over all member creditors and thus DePatco must be paid before the sole member Teton can be paid on its debt. The panel rejected Teton’s argument that the operating agreement alters the outcome as 1308 controls as a matter of law.

Deseret First Federal Credit Union v Parkin

Deseret and Parkin settled a quiet title case. Parkin’s former attorney then tried to intervene and fought a sanctions order against him. The district court denied the motion to intervene and entered sanctions as the attorney continued to file papers after he was replaced. The panel affirmed. It held the motion to intervene was correctly dismissed as the case had settled and been dismissed and intervention after judgment is not allowed. It affirmed the sanctions order because the district court acted under its own authority to impose sanctions and sanctions were appropriate as the attorney placed his desire to litigate the case and obtain a higher fee over the direction of Parkin to settle the case.

Mercado v Labor Commission

Mercado applied for permanent disability benefits which the commission denied. The panel affirmed. It held the denial was supported by substantial evidence in that Mercado returned to her position and performed the duties of the position for several months after her broken arm healed.

In the Mater of the Anna Blackham Aagard Trust (Aagard v Jorgensen)

Aagard, as trustee, petitioned for approval of modifications in the operating agreement of certain lands Jorgenson operates a sheep farm. The district court determined the modification would constitute a conflict of interest and denied the petition. The panel reversed. It held that under Utah Code 75-7-802(2), the removal of the veto is not a sale as it does not transfer trust assets, not a encumbrance as no third party is granted a property interest in the property and there is no conflict of interest as Aagard is statutorily authorized as trustee to take an undivided interest in trust assets with undivided interests.

R.B. v L.B.

Father petitioned to have custody of the parties’ child transferred to him as per the parties’ decree. The District court ruled the transfer would not be the child’s best interests and denied the petition. The panel affirmed. It held the district court properly read the parties decree to require the district court itself to make the change of custody decision and did not transfer that authority to an evaluator which would have been unlawful. It held the district court’s factual findings were not clearly erroneous as it made credibility determinations, gave weight to child’s improving behavior and academic performance and effectuated the need for stability in the child’s life.  The panel held that the district court’s decision to allow two witnesses who were not disclosed as required under the discovery order to testify was harmless as Father did not show any evidence that the outcome for the hearing would have been different.

State v McClellan

McClellan appealed his sentence. The panel held his case was moot as McClellan has already served his sentence and dismissed the appeal.

State v Painter

Painter appealed his conviction for aggravated assault arguing his attorney was ineffective for not objecting to a jury instruction setting out the elements of the crime which omitted lack of self-defense. The panel affirmed. It held that, under recent Court of Appeals precedent, failing to object to legally correct jury instruction cannot be deficient performance and here the jury instructions as a whole were correct. Alternatively, the panel held there was prejudice as the evidence presented, that Painter threw an elderly women through a wooden barrier and stomped her on the head, was such that a jury charged the way painter wanted would have still convicted him.