Bagley v Bagley

Bagley, as personal representative of and heir of her deceased husband, sued herself as an individual under Utah’s wrongful death and survivor statutes. The district court dismissed and the Court of Appeals reversed. The Court affirmed. It held that under the plain language of  wrongful death statute, Utah Code 78B-3-106, and the survival statue, Utah Code 78B-3-107, Bailey qualifies as personal representative and heir of the deceased husband to bring suit against “any person causing the death” or against “the wrongdoer” and Bagley is not excluded from being “any person” or “the wrongdoer” and the fact each statute requires suit “against” someone does not alter the analysis as Bagley is acting in different legal capacities as plaintiff and defendant. It held the absurd consequence cannon did not apply as neither 106 or 107 was ambiguous. It held the statutes did not run afoul of the absurdity doctrine as the legislature could rationally believe that in some cases the same person acting as plaintiff and defiant could be the only way for suit to be brought for the benefit of other heirs, creditors or claimants. It finally held the cases relied upon by Bagley as defendant and the district court in its dismissal order were not on point as they deal with the spate issue of whether Bagley can recover given the slayer statute, comparative fault and a provision of the insurance code none of which deal with who can sue and be sued and held the issues of whether recovery can happen here can be raised on remand.Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment v Executive Director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality

Physicians appealed the dismissal of its request for administrative action involving a gasoline refinery. The Court, 4-1, dismissed. It held that under Utah Code 19-1-301.5(14)(a), the Court’s appellate authority only extends to final agency action done by Executive Director, that Physicians failed to mention let alone demonstrate error with the Executive Director’s order here and thus dismissal for inadequate briefing was the correct course here. It also held that Physician’s efforts to remedy the inadequacy in the reply brief were unavailing as the reply brief tried to use Executive Director’s argument to get around the failure to adequately brief the issue in the opening brief which, if allowed, would turn briefing rues on their head and thus granted the motion to strike those portions of the reply brief which raised new issues. The dissent argued that review was viable here as the intermediate review authority was the administrative law judge, not the Executive Director and Physicians argued the judge’s analysis was wrong and it is formalism to hold the failure to identify Executive Director as the erring authority requires dismissal especially as Utah case law does not require dismissal. It also argued at least one claim was adequately briefed namely whether any adequate analysis was submitted by the refinery as part of its application.

Frank Anderson v Provo City; Sharon Anderson v Orem City

Frank and Sharon petitioned for extraordinary relief seeking an order to place certain items as referenda on the November 2017 ballot. The Court denied both petitions holding that Utah Code 20A-7-604(a) allows suit to be field in district court and allows appropriate orders to be issued by district court judges and there is sufficient time available to litigate the matters before deadlines to place items on the ballot and thus there is no basis to award relief.