Nevares v M.L.S.

Nevares filed a paternity suit seeking to stop the adoption of his child with M.L.S. M.L.S. moved for summary judgment arguing Nevares was required to establish paternity in Colorado before having standing in Utah and Utah’s sex crime ban on paternal rights applied. The district court accepted the first ground, rejected the second and granted judgment to M.L.S. The Court, with one justice concurring in result, reversed and remanded. It held that under Utah Code 78B-6-122, Nevares is only required to do what Colorado law, which is adopted by reference, requires him to do to protect his parental rights. Since Colorado only requires putative fathers to answer a petition to terminate his rights, and no such suit has been filed, Nevares satisfies the requirement provision. The majority held that the sex crime ban, 78B-6-11, does not apply giving three independent grounds. First, while the statute does not require formal charges or conviction, it does not contain an extraterritorial application clause and under cannons of construction one cannot be added by eh Court. Second, there is a presumption in Utah law that statutes do not have extraterritorial effect. Third, imposing Utah law on acts in Colorado present significant questions of due process and construing 111 to not apply to acts outside of Utah avoids those problems. The majority noted the legislature is free to change 111 if it does not like the construction the majority placed upon it. The concurrence argued 11 does apply to acts whether done inside or outside Utah, the majority approach adds terms to the statute which are not there and 111 is not penal as it merely states putative fathers who become such through rape have no parental rights. The concurrence agreed with the outcome because applying 111 to acts outside the state which are legal where they occur would violate Nevares’ substantive due process right to participate in his child’s upbringing as there has been no showing of unfitness. The concurrence also argued that other states do not provide adequate protection to victims of rape and Utah should therefore apply its own law in adoption proceedings to protect those victims.

Provo City v Utah Labor Commission

A Provo employee sought permanent disability for injuries form an auto accident while in the course of his employment. The administrative law judge ultimately granted benefits and Commission affirmed. The Court affirmed. It first held that for elements of a permanent disability claim that do not require evaluation of legal standards, such as whether the claimant can work should be reviewed for substantial evidence while elections which include legal standard, such as causation, should be reviewed de novo. Applying these standards, the Court held that Commission had substantial evidence to support its conclusion that driver was substantially impaired as he could not work on ladders or at height and had lifting restrictions, was unable to work due to an inability to walk or labor more than an hour a day, and aggravation of an existing condition can be legal cause of injury as happened here. The court also rejected the claim that administrative law judge had the right to change her initial decision based on new evidence and further refused to shield Provo and eth workers compensation fund from lump sum liability as the six year delay here was Provo and the Fund’s fault as they appealed and fought the award.

Sawyer v Department of Workforce Services

Sawyer filed for unemployment benefits. Department denied her application on the grounds that she resigned fearing she would be fired and this was not good cause to quit. The Court reversed and remanded. It first held the proper standard of review is substantial evidence as good cause is a mixed question of law and fact that is more fact like given the inability to set out a uniform rule and the determination will often involve credibility determinations. It noted this approach is consistent with review of good cause termination cases and with earlier precedent in the area. The Court reversed holding Department used the wrong legal standard and remanded for review under the correct standard namely whether a reasonably prudent person in Sawyer’s position would have done factoring in the likelihood of termination despite employee efforts and the negative affect on future employment of termination.