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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims under Utah R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) without prejudice. In his complaint, Plaintiff, a shareholder of USANA Health Sciences, Inc., alleged that USANA’s board of directors and several of its officers authorized and received spring-loaded, stock-settled stock appreciation rights (SSARs). Plaintiff acknowledged that the issuance of the spring-loaded SSARs complied with the terms of the company’s compensation plan but that it violated the underlying “spirit” of the plan. Plaintiff also alleged that the company’s Compensation Committee members breached their fiduciary duties and wasted corporate assets. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the case without prejudice, holding that because spring-loading SSARs did not constitute a per se violation of USANA’s compensation plan, Plaintiff failed to allege any facts supporting the inference that Defendants intended to harm or actually harmed the corporation. View "Rawcliffe v. Anciaux" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law

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This opinion followed the Supreme Court’s August 30, 2017 summary order denying Petitioners’ petition for extraordinary relief filed pursuant to Utah Code 20A-7-508(6)(a) pertaining to certain aspects of a final ballot title. Petitioners were among a group of sponsors who obtained sufficient signatures to have an initiative placed on the November 2017 ballot for the Pleasant Grove City municipal election. The City attorney prepared the final ballot title, which led to this petition being filed. The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding that Petitioners failed to satisfy their burden under Utah R. App. P. 19 of demonstrating that they possessed no plain, speedy, and adequate remedy other than the filing of a petition directly with the Supreme Court. View "Zonts v. Pleasant Grove City" on Justia Law

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In this criminal case convicting Defendant of murder, the Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ conclusion that exceptional circumstances merited review of an issue not preserved in the trial court and not argued on appeal. After supplemental briefing, the court of appeals reversed Defendant’s conviction, concluding that the homicide by assault instruction given to the jury was erroneous. Although Defendant never preserved an objection to the instruction and likely invited the error by submitting the instruction to the court, the court of appeals decided that the exceptional circumstances exception to the preservation rule permitted the court to examine the error. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals erred in overruling the trial court sua sponte on an issue that was neither preserved in the trial court nor argued on appeal. View "State v. Johnson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In this subrogation action filed by Educators Mutual Insurance Association (EMIA) against a tortfeasor in a personal injury case, the Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ dismissal for lack of standing. The court of appeals ruled that an insurer may file suit for subrogation only in the name of its insured, and not in its own name. The Supreme Court upheld EMIA’s standing to sue for subrogation in its own name under the terms of the insurance policy where the terms of the insurance policy at issue in this case expressly recognized EMIA’s authority “to pursue its own right of subrogation against a third party” without regard to whether the insured “is made whole by any recovery.” View "Wilson v. Educators Mutual Insurance Ass’n" on Justia Law

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Here the Supreme Court reaffirmed its statement in 2DP Blanding, LLC v. Palmer, __ P.3d ___ (Utah 2017), that “an appellant who takes no action to preserve his interests in property at issue on appeal has no recourse against a lawful third-party purchaser.” This case involved the same unstayed court order at issue in 2DP Blanding that authorized a foreclosure sale of real property. Here, MAA Prospector purchased property at the foreclosure sale. MAA Prospector had actual notice of Ray Palmer’s appeal of the foreclosure order when it purchased the property. The court of appeals reversed the judgment under which the foreclosure sale was conducted. Palmer then recorded a notice of default and election to sell under his original trust deed. MAA Prospector brought this suit against Palmer seeking to enjoin Palmer from foreclosing on the property and quieting its title to the property. The district court ruled in favor of MAA Prospector. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that MAA Prospector’s actual notice of Palmer’s appeal did not mean that MAA Prospector took the property subject to the outcome of the appeal. View "MAA Prospector Motor Lodge, LLC v. Palmer" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ putative class action lawsuit in which they alleged that Salt Lake City unjustly enriched itself by fining them for failing to use a parking meter at a time when there were no longer any parking meters in the City - only pay stations - but the City had not yet prohibited parking without paying at a pay station. Plaintiffs also alleged that the City’s notices violated due process. The district court granted the City’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the City’s notices were sufficient to apprise Plaintiffs of both their right to challenge their parking tickets and their opportunity for a hearing on that challenge; and (2) because Plaintiffs did not exhaust their legal remedies before seeking to challenge their tickets through an equitable action Plaintiffs failed to state an equitable enrichment claim. View "Bivens v. Salt Lake City" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the district court reversing the decision of the Moab City Council denying Mary and Jeramey McElhaney’s application for a conditional use permit to operate a bed and breakfast in their residential neighborhood, holding that the district court erred by refusing to send the matter back to the Council for the entry of more detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law. After determining that the Council had not generated findings sufficient to support its decision, the district court overturned the Council’s decision to deny the McElhaneys’ application. The Supreme Court remanded the case for further proceedings, holding (1) on an appeal of a district court’s review of an administrative decision, the court reviews the district court’s decision and not the Council’s; and (2) the district court erred in overturning the Council’s decision without remanding to permit the Council to craft findings of fact and conclusions of law capable of appellate review. View "McElhaney v. City of Moab" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the court of appeals affirming the district court’s conclusion that Jillian Scott cohabited with J.O, her ex-boyfriend, and, therefore, her alimony payments terminated under Utah Code 30-3-5(1). The statutory language governing termination of alimony provides that alimony “terminates upon establishment by the party paying alimony that the former spouse is cohabiting with another person.” See Utah Code 30-3-5(10). On appeal, Jillian argued that the district court’s interpretation of the statute was incorrect because it failed to account for the present tense of the verb “is.” The court of appeals disagreed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the plain language of section 30-3-5(1) requires the paying spouse to establish that the former spouse is cohabiting at the time the payment spouse files the motion to terminate alimony; and (2) the court of appeals erred when it found that Jillian and J.O. cohabited. View "Scott v. Scott" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Petitioner waived its challenge to the decision of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) to issue a “permit by rule” to U.S. Oil Sands Inc. for a bitumen-extraction project. Petitioner, which appeared before the Supreme Court for a second time to challenge the permit, failed to argue that UDEQ’s Executive Director erred in concluding that Living Rivers v. U.S. Oil Sands, Inc., 344 P.3d 568 (Living Rivers I), barred its requests for agency action. The Supreme Court affirmed the executive Director’s decision on the ground that Petitioner failed adequately to challenge an alternative ground for the Executive Director’s decision. View "Rivers v. Executive Director of Utah Department of Environmental Quality" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of four counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and sentence of a composite term of thirty years to life in prison. The court held (1) to the extent that Defendant’s arguments that the district court erred in admitting expert testimony by a forensic interviewer at the Children’s Justice Center, they lacked merit; (2) the district court did not violate Defendant’s constitutional right to present a complete defense when it excluded evidence of a witness’s supposed prior false accusations of sexual misconduct; and (3) there was no abuse of discretion in the district court’s sentencing decision. View "State v. Martin" on Justia Law