State v Pham

Pham appealed his convictions arising from a shooting arguing it was error to allow the victim’s preliminary hearing testimony into evidence and that there was insufficient t evidence to support the shooting resulting in serious bodily injury conviction. The panel, with one judge concurring in part and concurring in result in part, affirmed. The whole panel held there was no violation of Pham’s confrontation rights as Utah’s preliminary hearing process does not structurally limit the scope and depth of cross examination and Pham’s attorney was able to cross examine the victim without limitation. The panel noted that it was not creating a blanket rule to allow preliminary hearing evidence to be admitted. The majority held that evidence of a gunshot wound to the leg was sufficient to find a serious risk of death as such wounds can be fatal and here the bullet entered victim’s abdomen, exited through his scrotum and lodged in his leg requiring a three day hospitalization. The concerning judge argued that Pham failed to marshal the evidence in support of his argument by omitting the abdominal and scrotal injuries.

Sterling Fiduciaries LLC v JP Morgan Chase Bank NA

Sterling appealed summary judgment granted to Bank. The panel, with one judge concurring in result, affirmed. The majority held an earlier quiet title action by sterling’s predecessor in interest did not extinguish Bank’s rights in the trust deed on the property in question because the recording system entity listed as the nominee of the original lender and subsequent purchasers of the note was entitled to notice of the quiet title suit as it was the beneficiary of the deed and both Utah and out of state precedent have held the entity was properly considered agent of whatever person or entity holding the legal title of the underlying note. Thus, Sterling’s predecessor was on inquiry notice of Bank’s interest and the judgment in the quiet title suit was limited to the sole defendant sued and did not extinguish bank’s interest. The majority rejected Sterling’s bona fide purchaser argument as the recorded trust deed put Sterling on inquiry notice as the recoding system entity was listed as beneficiary.

In the Interest of S.L., W.T. and P.T. (R.T. v State)

R.T. appealed the termination of her parental rights. The panel affirmed. It upheld the finding of grounds to terminate as R.T. failed to challenge several of the grounds found by the juvenile court. It affirmed the best interests find noting the failed trial placement with R.T. and the children’s improvement in foster care and the foster parents’ desire to adopt. It held the counseling and efforts to help R.T. find housing and employment were sufficient to constitute reasonable efforts. It finally held the State’s late discovery delivery was harmless as there was a delay between the first and second day of trial and the juvenile court offered extra days of trial which R.T. did not use.

State v Whitaker

Whitaker appealed his child sex abuse conviction arguing insufficient evidence. The panel reversed. It held that the evidence only proved a physical act of moving victim’s hand palm up and perhaps touching Whitaker’s penis through his clothes and the mere fact of contact was insufficient to prove intent to arose or gratify sexual desire.

Olson v Park City Municipal Corporation

Olson appealed summary judgment for Park City on his claim the combining of three parcels into one parcel to allow development violated Park City’s land use ordinance and general plan. The panel affirmed. It held the combing of the parcels did not violate the code as there is no authority requiring building size to be frozen based on the initial partitioning of land and in any event no development was allowed under the code until the land here was “subdivided” which was accomplished by the combining of the parcels, the building ratio allowed by the combination was the same ratio allowed under the code and did not violate the plan as the ordinance combining the parcels was silent on allowed square footage to be developed.

Norton v Hess

Norton appealed the dismissal of his Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) motions arguing his underlying claim was not time barred. The panel affirmed. It held the limitations period had run as Norton had his first case dismissed for lack of service and his second case filed under the saving case in Utah Code 78B-2-111 and that case was dismissed. While the dismissal was erroneous, it was not appealed and became final and, as 111 only allows one subsequent filing, the dismissal was with prejudice and the third suit was not permitted. The panel held Norton inadequately briefed his argument Rule 60 could override 111’s one subsequent case limit and in any event 111 controls here.