Taft v Taft

Wife appealed the divorce decree in this domestic case. The panel affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded. It held the district court did not clearly error in setting husband’s income as the parties did not provide expert evidence as to how rent from certain commercial properties had been treated for tax purposes and wife failed to marshal the evidence in support of the district court’s finding on appeal. It held there were insufficient factual findings as to alimony as the district court made no findings about husband’s expenses and made no explanation about why it consider wife’s declared expenses unreasonable or why it found the amount of expense it used in calculations reasonable. The alimony issue was thus remanded for further proceedings. It held that wife failed to bring her argument that the district court erroneously treated two businesses as one unitary business for property division purposes to the attention of the district court and thus waived the argument on appeal. It held wife failed to marshal the evidence in her argumenta bout marital property debt valuation and the value of a car and thus affirmed on those issues. It remanded the valuation of certain water shares as the district court failed to make any valuation. The panel remanded the issue of business inventory valuation for fact-finding as the evidence cited by the district court did not in fact set a value on the inventory. It held the payment plan for wife’s property division was inequitable as husband had the right to set monthly payment which could be $1 and effectively gave him 10 years to pay wife, the interest rate was too low to incentivize payment or properly allocate gain to wife and the plan did not serve the interest of allowing parties to get on with their lives and thus the issue was remanded for reconsideration. Turning to a piece of real estate, the panel first held that wife failed to marshal the evidence to overcome the district court’s finding that its sale was not as fraudulent transfer as more factors pointed to legitimate sale instead of transfer with intent to hinder wife, but, remanded the issue of whether the property is a martial asset because the property was declared martial property at the outset of the proceeding, but, was not included in the property division and the district court did not provide any explanation for why it was excluded. It remanded the issue of whether husband violated a temporary order requiring alimony and other payments because the district court failed to make factual findings about the parties’ income and expenses and the finds it did enter do not support its order excusing husband form making missed payments. The panel rejected wife’s argument that her motion to reconsider was summarily rejected without proper consideration as the record reflected the district court’s awareness of the arguments in the motion and some reasoning for why it did not grant the motion. The panel finally remanded the issue of whether husband should pay wife’s attorney fees as the district court failed to make adequate factual findings.

McTee v Weber Center Condominium Association, Municipal Building Authority and Weber County

County appealed the denial of its motion to dismiss arguing the notice of claim against it was untimely. The panel affirmed.  It held that the district court did not clearly error in finding that McTee had no inquiry notice as of the date of her falling into a pothole that she may have a claim against County as a sign in front of the building directed interested tenants to call a private company and it was unclear form the sign what role the company played beyond leasing agent and the ownership structure of the building is complex and the documents in the public record would not have given the reasonably prudent person knowledge that County was responsible to maintain the parking facility where the pothole was. The panel concluded that the district court permissibly found that taking some time to learn about the facts which connected County to the pothole was reasonable given the circumstances of the case and that McTee acted with reasonable diligence, meaning took the steps someone of ordinary prudence would take to determine if he had a claim against a government entity under the facts and circumstances existing at the time of the injury. The panel finally held that the need for strict compliance with the government immunity act did not apply in situations like reasonable diligence determinations which are not capable of exact measurement.

State v Mikkelson

The state appealed the district court order granting Mikkelson’s motion to suppress. The panel reversed and remanded. It held that police officers may stop and detain probationers at the request of probation officers as Utah case law allows police to detain parolees on request of parole officials and there is no reason to have a different rule. It held that the traffic stop here based on the request by the passenger’s probation officer to investigate her possible probation violations was legal as traffic stops may be done for wrongdoing and probation violation is wrongdoing. The panel declined to analyze whether the request for Mikkelson’s identification was lawful as that issue was not raised below.

Airport Park Salt Lake City v 42 Hotel SLC LLC

Hotel appealed the denial of its motion for attorney fees. The panel reversed and remanded. It held that under the first easement involved in the dispute, as the parties reserved the issue of attorney fees for the district court to decide, pre-litigation settlement did not extinguish attorney fee rights as terms of the easement required settlement efforts and the reciprocal fee statute made fees available even though Hotel proved it was not subject to eh easement. It held the district court did not analyze the motion under the second easement at issue here and, to the extent it ruled settlement bared an award, that was clearly erroneous as the issue was reserved for decision by the district court and prevailing parties are entailed to fees under the terms of the second easement. It held the district court order did not rule on whether Hotel was a prevailing party. It declined to make the determination as the course of the patties dispute is complex and both parties appear to have won some of the issues and lost others making the determination better suited for the district court to make in the first instance.

State v Jimenez

Jimenez appealed his burglary conviction arguing the district court erroneously excluded his medical records. The panel affirmed. It held any error in not admitting the records was harmless as his DNA was in the house, his account was implausible, was only told at trial instead of given to the police during the investigation, none of the people identified in his account testified in corroboration, the records were for a period nearly a year before the burglary and contained no objective tests confirming Jimenez’s statements about his condition and were thus insufficient to overcome the DNA evidence.