Clearwater, LLC v Giles

Clearwater appealed the judgment setting the width of a road at 30 feet and rejecting its claim for lost crops. The panel affirmed. It held that the county ordinance on roads, which controlled under state law, did not set a width for the road in question and the district court was barred from delegating the determination of the width to the county in any case. It held that precedent construing the road dedication statute consistently require district courts to look at the historical use of the road in setting a width and the district court here did not erroring limiting its review t historical evidence at the time of dedication through use. The panel rejected Clearwater’s contrary arguments holding the case law relied upon involved private prescriptive easements not public roads where there is no dominant estate. The panel affirmed judgment as to crop loss holding that Utah Code 73-1-15, obstruction requires a physical act that actually changes the course of the water or physically blocks or impleads the flow and this meaning is consistent with precedent about obstructing water flow. It held that calling the sheriff and putting up no trespassing signs did not impede or block the flow and thus the statute was not violated. It finally held that the same reasoning applied to the claim under Utah Code 73-1-7 as none of the actions alleged here physically prevented Clearwater from improving its ditch by installing a bigger pipe.

Blackmore v L & D Development, Inc.

Blackmore appealed the jury verdict for Development and other defendants on his breach of contact claim and an award of attorney fees to development. The panel affirmed the verdict but vacated the fee award. It held there was no abuse of discretion when the judge originally assigned the case rescued himself after an earlier remand as the fear of reprisal after remand and an acquaintance with one of the attorney’s were legitimate reasons to recuse. It held there was no violation of the law of the case doctrine when the new judge voted summary judgment on an issue for Blackmore as the Court of Appeals did not review that issue during the earlier appeal and the new judge had authority to revisit any order entered in the case. It held there was error in denying Blackmore’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict on the issue of abandonment as Development presented evidence through three witnesses that Blackmore stated he was done with the deal or that he could not perform his duties under the deal. The fee award was vacated because the district court used a prevailing party standard while the parties’ contract limed awards to situations where a party defaulted in a duty and Blackmore was not entitled to fees because he abandoned the contract.

Ortega v Ridgewood Estates, LLC

Ridgewood appealed judgment quieting title to two mobile homes and awarding attorney fees and punitive damages to Ortega and Ortega appealed the no general damages portion of the judgment. The panel affirmed. On Ridgewood’s appeal, the panel held Ortega was a resident of the mobile home park and thus entitled to 15, not 5, days’ notice of eviction because he paid rent for two lots in the park which Ridgewood accepted. It rejected an argument about Ridgewood’s right to remove for failure to preregister as unpreserved. It held there was no error in denying damages to Ridgewood for unjust enrichment as they prevented Ortega from removing the two mobile homes and claimed title to the homes. The panel held that an argument that Ridgewood should have been allowed to amend its unlawful detainer complaint was inadequately briefed and an attack on the slander of title judgment was unpreserved and meritless as Ridgewood knew that Ortega had purchased the homes. The panel upheld the attorney fee because prevailing plaintiffs in slander of title cases may be awarded fees under Utah case law. On Ortega’s appeal, the panel held there was no error in not awarding lost rent as damages as Ortega was not in eth business of renting out homes. It held that Ortega failed to demonstrate error as to the amount of punitive damages as he failed to address the standards for awarding punitive damages and thus failed to demonstrate a higher award should been entered. The panel finally awarded appeal attorney fees to Ortega, but, only for the services rendered defending Ridgewood’s appeal.

Ynot Global Limited v Stellia Limited

Ynot appealed the denial of its motion to set aside its second voluntary dismissal. The panel affirmed. It held the motion to set aside was based on Ynot’s mistake in believing it could raise its claim as a counterclaim and thus was correctly characterized as arising under Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1) and not under (b)(6) and thus denial of relief under (b)(6) was correct. It held that Ynot’s argument that an opponent’s motion to dismiss makes voluntary dismissal impossible was inadequately briefed as it lacked citation to legal authority and in any event Ynot invited the error by arguing voluntary dismissal was allowed to the district court.

Stellia Limited v Ynot Global Limited

Ynot appealed the dismissal of its counterclaim under Rule of civil Procedure 41(a). The panel affirmed. It held the plain language of 41(a), as interpreted by the Utah Supreme Court, requires dismissal of any claim brought after a party has voluntarily dismissed the same claim twice through a notice of dismissal. Here, Ynot dismissed its claim in federal court by a notice and Stellia’s then pending motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds was not a stipulation to dismissal and there was no judicial, involvement in the dismissal thus making it a voluntary dismissal for 41(a) purposes. It also held that Ynot’s motivations for filing the notices of dismissal were irrelevant to whether or not the counterclaim was barred and the plain language of 41(a) shows it applies to counterclaims.

Ford v Ford

Husband appealed the discovery sanction imposed at his show cause hearing. The panel affirmed. It held that under Rule of Civil Procedure 36, once husband failed to object to the requests for admissions, answer them or move to amend or withdraw his deemed admitted answers, the district court was required to treat the requests as admitted. It held that striking husband’s pleadings was not an abuse of discretion as wife answered husband’s late discovery requests and the district court offered an alternative sanction of continuance and attorney fees to wife which husband rejected.

In the interests of M.H. and M.K (J.H. v State)

J.H. appealed the termination of her parental rights. The panel affirmed. It held the state proved failure parental adjustment as J.H. did not do the psychotherapy recommended, failed to prove steady income and still lived with a boyfriend that has kicked her out before. It held termination was in the children’s best interest as J.H. cannot provide stability, the kids needed therapy and several families are interested in adopting them. It finally held that there had been reasonable efforts to reunite but that J.H. had failed to take advantage of the state’s offerings.

Migenes v Department of Workforce Services

Migenes appealed the order that he reimburse Department for disability benefits received on the grounds of fraud. The panel affirmed holding Migenes misrepresented his work during the period he received benefits as he claimed no work when in fact worked between 12 and 15 hours per week.