Articles Posted in Injury Law

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Plaintiffs filed a tort suit against Provo City under the Governmental Immunity Act. The complaint was dismissed because Plaintiffs failed to submit an undertaking or bond as required by the statute. Plaintiffs filed a second complaint, this time with the bond required by statute, but by the time the case was refiled, it was untimely under the Act. Provo City moved to dismiss. In response, Plaintiffs pointed to the Savings Statute, a provision outside the Governmental Immunity Act that generally extends the statute of limitations for plaintiffs when a complaint is dismissed other than on the merits. The district court granted the motion to dismiss. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the Act was complementary to other laws like the Savings Statute, and thus the Savings Statue was applicable. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Act forecloses the applicability of the Savings Statute. View "Craig v. Provo City" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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A 14-year-old student at Juan Diego Catholic High School suffered serious and life-threatening injuries while using a lift to replace light bulbs in the auditorium, during his drama class. The lift tipped over as students pushed it from one light fixture to another, causing him to suffer life-threatening injuries, including traumatic brain injury. His parents filed a lawsuit, individually and as parents and guardians of the student, claiming negligence and vicarious liability, and seeking to bring a personal claim for loss of filial consortium. The district court dismissed the loss of filial consortium claim and certified the dismissal as final. The Utah Supreme Court vacated, adopting a cause of action for loss of filial consortium to allow parents to recover for loss of filial consortium due to tortious injury to a minor child in cases where the injury meets the definition set forth in Utah Code section 30-2-11, the spousal consortium statute. The court concluded that such a cause of action is not legislatively preempted. View "Benda v. Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law, Injury Law

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Alan Peterson, the former president of The Layton Companies, Inc. and Layton Construction Co. (Layton), had a falling out with Layton management and later founded SIRQ, a competing construction company. Alleging that Layton exhibited a malicious, wrongful intent in its interactions with SIRQ and Peterson (collectively, Plaintiffs), Plaintiffs sued Layton for intentional interference with economic relations and “false light” invasion of privacy. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiffs on the intentional interference and false light claims. While this case was pending on appeal, the Supreme Court revised the common law of intentional interference with economic relations. The Supreme Court (1) reversed and remanded for a new trial on the tortious interference claim, holding that parties to cases pending on appeal are entitled to the benefit of an alteration of the common law; and (2) reversed and remanded on the “false light” invasion of privacy claim, holding that the trial judge in this case failed to fulfill the gatekeeping role of assuring that the jury considers only statements that are capable of defamatory meaning. View "SIRQ, Inc. v. Layton Companies, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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Attorney Donald Gilbert represented the Utah Down Syndrome Association and several of its founders in litigation between the Association and the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation, Inc. Gilbert filed this petition for extraordinary relief challenging (1) a 2008 district court judgment ordering Gilbert to disgorge $30,000 taken from Foundation bank accounts to pay his attorney fees, (2) an injunction that originally barred Gilbert’s clients from paying him with Foundation funds, (3) an order denying Gilbert’s motion to vacate the 2008 judgment, and (4) an order denying Gilbert’s motion for relief from the 2008 judgment. The Supreme Court denied Gilbert’s petition for extraordinary relief, holding (1) Gilbert unreasonably delayed seeking extraordinary relief from the injunction, the disgorgement order, and the denial of his motion to vacate; and (2) Gilbert failed to pursue the plain, speedy, and adequate remedy of direct appeal from the denial of his motion for relief from judgment. View "Gilbert v. Third Dist. Court Judges" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was seriously injured during the course of his employment with Defendant. Plaintiff filed suit alleging that Defendant’s negligence caused his injuries. Defendant moved for summary judgment asserting that it was immune from suit under the exclusive remedy provision of the Utah Workers’ Compensation Act. The district court granted the motion, determining that Defendant qualified for immunity under the “eligible employer” statute. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Defendant did not “secure the payment” of workers’ compensation benefits for Plaintiff as required by the statute. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant qualified as an “eligible employer” under the workers’ compensation statutes and fulfilled all of the statutory requirements. View "Nichols v. Jacobsen" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was babysitting a four-year-old boy when the boy threw a toy at her, striking her in the eye. The impact caused Plaintiff to lose all vision in that eye. Plaintiff sued the boy’s parents for negligent supervision and the boy for negligence. The district court granted summary judgment on the negligent supervision claim against the parents but denied summary judgment on the negligence claim against the boy, concluding that a four-year-old boy can be liable for negligence under Utah law. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that children under the age of five may not be held liable for negligence. View "Nielsen v. Bell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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Plaintiff was babysitting a four-year-old boy when the boy threw a toy at her, striking her in the eye. The impact caused Plaintiff to lose all vision in that eye. Plaintiff sued the boy’s parents for negligent supervision and the boy for negligence. The district court granted summary judgment on the negligent supervision claim against the parents but denied summary judgment on the negligence claim against the boy, concluding that a four-year-old boy can be liable for negligence under Utah law. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that children under the age of five may not be held liable for negligence. View "Nielsen v. Bell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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M.J. was allegedly required to enter into an underage marriage at the direction of Warren Jeffs, then the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and trustee of the United Effort Plan Trust. M.J. filed suit against Jeffs and Bruce Wisan, in his capacity as special fiduciary of the Trust, asserting a variety of tort claims and claims for both vicarious and direct liability against the Trust. The Trust filed a series of motions for summary judgment, all of which were denied. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of summary judgment in large part, upholding that district court’s decisions on all issues except its determination that the Trust is subject to liability on reverse veil-piercing grounds, holding that the Trust was entitled to summary judgment on that limited basis. View "M.J. v. Wisan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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Plaintiff was injured when forced to stop suddenly near a construction crew on a Utah road. Plaintiff submitted a notice of claim against the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). UDOT did not respond to the notice of claim within sixty days, and therefore, Plaintiff’s claim was deemed denied. One month later, UDOT sent a letter to Plaintiff stating that UDOT denied the claim. Plaintiff subsequently filed suit against UDOT and several unnamed “John Does.” UDOT moved for summary judgment, arguing that the Utah Governmental Immunity Act (GIA) barred Plaintiff’s claim because he did not file within one year of the date on which it was deemed denied. The trial court granted UDOT’s motion and dismissed Plaintiff’s entire suit with prejudice, including his claim against the Doe Defendants. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the denial letter sent after the deemed denial had occurred did not restart the limitations period and was a legal superfluity, and therefore, Plaintiff did not timely file his suit under the GIA; (2) estoppel was not warranted in this case; and (3) the dismissal of the Doe Defendants was proper where they were described as employees of UDOT. View "Monarrez v. Utah Dep’t of Transp." on Justia Law

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Saltz Plastic Surgery, P.C. and Renalto Saltz (collectively, Saltz) performed an abdominoplasty and a breast augmentation on Conilyn Judge. Judge was subsequently interviewed by Fox News and posed for post-operative photographs showing the results of her surgery. Fox News aired redacted nude photographs of Judge both before and after the operation. Judge filed suit against Saltz, alleging five causes of action, including publication of private facts, false light, and intrusion upon seclusion. The trial court grated summary judgment for Saltz on all claims. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court adopted the requirement in section 652D(b) of the Restatement (Second) of Torts that plaintiffs must show that “the matter publicized…is not of legitimate concern to the public” and affirmed the court of appeals’ reversal of the grant of summary judgment on the claims for publication of private facts and intrusion on seclusion, holding that the court of appeals did not err in concluding that disputed issues of fact precluded summary judgment Judge’s claims for publication of private facts and intrusion on seclusion. View "Judge v. Saltz Plastic Surgery, P.C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law