Francis v National DME

DME appealed the judgment against it for unpaid commissions, prejudgment interest and attorney fees and Francis counterappealed the directed verdict in his claim for interference with economic relations. The panel affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded. It held that the amount of commissions must be reduced as Francis provided evidence of some commissions through his own testimony and a W-2 form from DME in excess of his salary, but, failed to prove that he was owed anything after the first three months of his employment. Thus, giving DME credit for all sums paid, the damages were reduced to $9,700.  The panel held there was error in excluding the circumstances of Francis’ discharge as those facts were irrelevant to the commission claim and would have been prejudicial. The panel reversed the attorney fee award holding Utah Code 34-27-1 authorizes an award only when the claimant obtains a judgment equal to or greater than the sum demanded in the wage claim. Here, Francis obtained less than he demanded and thus his attorney fee claim fails as a matter of law. The panel surveyed the cases law construing Utah Code 15-1-1, concluded it is ambiguous, but, held that DME inadequately argued its position and thus affirmed applying it here. On the cross appeal, the panel held that Francis presented sufficient evidence of proximate causation, namely DME’s threat to initiate legal proceedings to enforce a purported non-compete agreement, his new employers concerns about those threats and termination of him shortly after those threats, for the case to go to the jury and thus the directed verdict was wrongly entered. The panel finally held that there was no error in keeping out a voicemail form the new employer explaining why Francis was terminated as it was hearsay and because it concerned past action, was not admissible under the state of mind exception.

State v Taufui

Taufui appealed the denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. The panel affirmed holding the district court lacked jurisdiction to grant the motion as sentence had already been imposed, Taufui knew he had to file a motion to withdraw before sentencing, he has post-conviction relief remedies available to him and there is no basis to allow a belated appeal here.

BV Lending, LLC v Jordanville Special Services District

BV appealed the district court order granting summary judgment to District. The panel dismissed the appeal as moot as District had taken ownership of the property in question and thus BV no longer had the duty to pay an assessment for improvements.