State v Oliver

Oliver appealed the restitution order in her criminal case. THz panel, with one judge concurring, vacated and remanded. The majority held that any error in the district court concluding there was a causal link between the victim overdosing on methamphetamine and his death absent any evidence of a link in the record was invited by Oliver who made representations that such a link existed. It held that the district court erred in finding there was a proximate cause link between Oliver’s action of allowing victim to smoke methamphetamine and victim’s death as victim’s act of swallowing additional methamphetamine may have been a superseding case relieving Oliver of liability, the district court did not analyze this issue and the record was too sparse to conclude the swallowing of the methamphetamine was not extraordinary and thus superseding. It rejected Oliver’s argument that she should not be jointly and severally liable with her boyfriend under plain error review as there is no case law on the subject and no plain error. Christiansen concurred arguing that if the legislature doesn’t want proximate causation analysis for criminal restitution it may want to amend the restitution statute.

Design Academy Inc. v Albiston

Design appealed the denial of motion to suspend Albiston’s driver license and vehicle registration for failure to pay the judgment against her for unpaid tuition. The panel affirmed. It held that a literal reading of 41-12a-103(2) supports designs argument, that reading leads to absurd results because it treats people who appeal and lose more favorably than those who do not appeal, extends the license and registration sanction to all judgments even though the provision is in a part of the Utah Code concerning motor vehicle liability and thus 102(2) must be read to only apply to judgments arising out of ownership, use or maintenance of a motor vehicle when no appeal is taken or is taken by the car owner or user and they lose.

State v Robinson

Robinson appealed his murder, assault and gun convictions. The panel affirmed. It held any error in not allowing Robinson to cross examine a witness about a plea in abeyance for theft was harmless as witness’ testimony about Robinson’s access to a gum was cumulative to Robinson’s statements about his access to the same gun and witness’ statements about Robinson’s state of mind and physical aggressiveness was cumulative to other testimony form several other witnesses on those subjects. It held there was no abuse of discretion in denying Robinson’s motion to have the jury visit the crime scene as the basement in question had been remodeled which changed the heights, interior spaces and building materials which changed the scene in material ways and there was no plain error due process violation given the absence of appellate authority in Robinson’s favor and Robinson failed to demonstrate how the jury visit would have resulted in a different outcome.

Moshier v Fisher

Moshier appealed summary judgment to Fisher in this legal malpractice case on limitations grounds. The panel affirmed holding legal malpractice is subject to a four year limitations period under Utah statute and case law, the limitation period runs when a lawyer misses a limitations deadline which occurred here more than four years before the complaint was filed and the discovery rule does not apply as Fisher informed Moshier of his malpractice more than  four years before the complaint was filed and Moshier retained counsel to pursue this claim more than six months before the four year period expired.

Simons v Sanpete County

Simons appealed summary judgment to County on their wrongful death claim. The panel held that Simons’ claim was based on County’s failure to notify the Utah Highway Patrol about a dead deer ion a highway, this is an omission to act and thus, under the public duty doctrine, County owed no duty to Simons’ son when another driver hit the deer carcass and then hit the son’s car killing him. It held the special relationship exception did not apply as County did not undertake any specific action to protect road users and answering 911 calls was not done to protect specific groups of people either and son here did not detrimentally rely on County’s actions or inactions as he had no association whatever with the person who hit the deer and called the 911 center and did not know about the call an County’s response.

Pilot v Hill

Pilot appealed the denial of his Rule of Civil Procedure 15(b) motion to amend arguing the issue of damages in excess of his tier 2 designation was tried by consent. The panel affirmed holding tier designations must be pled under Rule of Civil Procedure 8 and an increase of tier designation must be done through a Rule 15(a) motion as to plead issues not a Rule 15(b) motion for unpled issues.