Giles v Mineral Resources International, Inc.

The district court awarded summary judgment to Giles on Mineral’s claim of breach of fiduciary duty and awarded attorney fees under a non-compete agreement between the parties. The panel affirmed. It held that Mineral offered only speculation that certain acts of Giles somehow caused the loss of a client and summary judgment was thus proper as no reasonable inference of actual damages could be drawn here. The panel held that Minerals waived its argument that it was entitled to nominal damages by failing to develop the argument and in any event it is unclear nominal damages are available in breach of fiduciary duty cases given the lack of authority in Utah and the split of authority in other state law cases. The panel affirmed the award of attorney fees as the agreement states that attorney fees shall be awarded in cases involving claims related to the agreement between the parties and the fiduciary duty claim was related to the agreement. The case was remanded for a calculation of fees incurred by Giles on appeal.

Sevier Citizens for Clean Air and Water, Inc. Department of Environmental Quality

Citizens sought to reverse a decision by Department to allow a gas fired power plant in Sevier County. The administrative law judge ruled that Citizen’s notice did not constitute a petition to intervene and even if it did it failed to demonstrate entitlement to intervene. The panel affirmed. Applying correctness review, it held that the notice and petition to intervene could be included in one document under Utah Code19-1301.5, but, the materials submitted only contained generalized mentions of potential harm thus failing to prove a legal interest on the part of Citizens or its members and completely failed to offer proof that intervention would not materially impair the permitting process. Alternatively, the materials field with the notice unduly burdened Department by not more clearly stating why the criteria for intervention were met.

Total Restoration, Inc. v Merritt

Total filed a mechanic’s lien on Merritt’s home for flood cleanup services. Merritt countersued for wrongful lien, abuse of lien and bad faith. After bench trial, the district court entered judgment to Total and dismissed the counterclaims. The panel reversed and remanded. It held that under Court of Appeals precedent, flood clean up services are not lienable as they do not physically affix anything nor alter the structure of the premises. Thus, Total’s claimed lien was void and judgment was reversed as was an award of attorney fees under the lien statute. The panel rejected a claim that extensive repairs are lienable as Total only removed materials. The panel reversed the dismissal of the counterclaims as the dismissal was based on the incorrect finding that the lien was valid. The case was remanded for further proceedings with a note that the mechanic’s lien was not per se filed in good faith merely because the mechanic’s lien is created by statute.