Highlands at Jordanelle, LLC v Wasatch County and Wasatch County Fire Protection Service District

Highlands sued County and District seeking refund of fire protection fees. The district court granted partial summary judgment to Highlands then final judgment in its favor after an evidentiary hearing. The panel affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded. It held the service fee was not unreasonable given the benefit to the landowners of vested development rights, lower insurance premiums and the fee responded to a need created by the development by building a fire station hear where Highlands planned to build. The panel held that additional lump sum fees assessed on Highlands were unauthorized and thus must be refunded. It held that Distract and County are separate entities and there is no evidence that County exercised such control over District as to make it jointly liable for the refund. The panel held the lump sum fees were contractual in nature as they were paid in exchange for the fire protection services not paid into the general fund to be spent at the discretion of eh county commission and thus the statutory rate of 10% applies and prejudgment interest runs from the date of payment as that is when the wrongful deprivation of money occurred. The panel held an attorney fee award to Highland on the lump sum fee claim was appropriate under the private attorney general doctrine as the case vindicated the important public right to have unauthorized fees assessed on property owners and the circumstances of the case are exception given the District’s defense of the fees until oral argument before the panel. The award was vacated and the issue remanded, however, to determine which fees were incurred as to the lump sum issue and which were incurred due to the service fee issue where o recovery is allowed. On cross appeal, one owner challenged the dismissal of its lump sum claim on limitation grounds and the panel reversed holding there was no notice of the claim until Highland field suit and obtain judgment on the issue and the circumstances are exceptional given the lump sum  fees are legally indefensible. As to another claimant, the panel affirmed denial of a motion to relate a claim back to the original complaint as the claim to be added involved facts occurring after the original complaint was field and were thus new claims by a new party.

State v Ashby

Ashby appealed her convictions for child sexual abuse. The panel affirmed. It held the district court did not error in excluding evidence the victim engaged in sexual conduct with other minors because the evidence, while relevant, was highly embarrassing, dissimilar to the acts alleged against Ashby, victim’ failure to disclose his other sexual acts did not support undermine his credibility as he wasn’t asked questions which would elicit information about other acts and other evidence was available to demonstrate delayed reporting. The panel held that any error in sending a DVD of victim’s forensic interview back with the jury was harmless as there is no evidence the jury actually watched the DVD.

State v Rushton

Rushton appealed his convictions for wage and retirement fraud arguing his plea to tax evasion barred the new fraud charges. The panel affirmed. It held that precedent interpreting “single criminal episode” in compulsory joinder cases are directly on point and should be followed. Applying here, the panel held the tax evasion and wage and retirement fraud do not arise from a single criminal episode because the crimes have different victims and thus different objectives.

State v Snyder

Snyder appealed the revocation of his probation and imposition of a suspended sentence. The panel affirmed. It held that Snyder’s admission on the stand at this hearing that he was untruthful with the probation department about his visits with a woman with minor children was sufficient in itself to revoke his zero tolerance probation. The panel also evaluated two other claims to offer guidance for future cases and held that sending electronic communications to the woman, meeting her for lunch on four occasions, stating he hoped to be exonerated, holding the woman’s hand and placing his arm around the woman  and bringing up marriage a lot fit the definition of dating and thus Snyder violated probation by dating a woman with minor children in the home and also held Snyder violated probation by not completing his sex offender program by lying to his therapists and not accepting responsibility for his crimes. The panel rejected Snyder’s claim that the use of his email as evidence was improper as the district court did not rely on the email and in any event Snyder never objected to the introduction of the email.

Velander v LOL of Utah, LLC and Richards

Velander appealed the dismissal of his claim against Richards for failure to prosecute. The panel affirmed holding the accrual of extremely high interest for over three years and Verlander’s default judgment against other defendants plus unchallenged analysis by the district court in favor of dismissal were sufficient to affirm the dismissal here.

Simons v Park City RV Resort, LLC and Sorensen

Simons appealed the summary judgment awarded Resort and Sorensen. The panel affirmed. As to Report, it held that Simons failed to provide any evidence that Resort was undercapitalized, that any funds were siphoned away from Resort or any other facts which would demonstrate that Resort was Sorensen’s alter ego. As to Sorensen, the panel held that Simons failed to prove Sorensen personally received any befit form payments to the company which built Simons’ house and thus failed to prove her unjust enrichment claim.