The Strong & Hanni appellate practice group had a few notable wins in recent months.
Jensen Tech Services et al. v. Herrera, 2022 UT App 18. (https://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/appopin/Jensen%20Tech%20Services%20v.%20Labor%20Commission20220203_20200194_18.pdf)
Scarlet Smith challenged the Labor Commission’s determination that Herrera was an employee entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The Utah Court of Appeals set aside the Labor Commission’s decision, holding that the Labor Commission failed to correctly apply the “right to control” standard.
Dale K. Barker Co. PC CPA Profit Sharing Plan v. Shawn D. Turner, 2021 UT App 119. (https://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/appopin/Dale%20K.%20Barker%20Co%20PC%20CPA%20Profit%20Sharing%20%20v.%20Turner20211104_20200070_119.pdf)
Scarlet Smith defended the district court’s decision, awarding plaintiff damages and attorney fees. The parties entered a written loan agreement in which Turner, an attorney, agreed to pay back the $25,000 borrowed within sixty days. But Turner failed to make payments for four years. Instead, he asked Barker to credit his debt with legal fees earned through his representation of Barker’s business. When a lawsuit was brought to recover the outstanding balance on the loan, Turner moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the suit was barred by the statute of limitations. The district court denied that motion and later held that Turner defaulted on the loan, awarded damages, and awarded attorney fees. Turner appealed.
The Utah Court of Appeals determined the district court correctly determined the lawsuit was timely, affirmed the judgment, and awarded attorney fees on appeal.
Kirk v. Anderson, 2021 UT 41. (https://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/Kirk%20v.%20Anderson20210805.pdf)
A workers’ compensation claimant filed a complaint against the doctor performing an independent medical examination, alleging negligence and reckless conduct in rendering his opinions in the report. The district court granted a motion to dismiss filed by attorneys in the Strong & Hanni medical malpractice group, and the claimant appealed.
Scarlet Smith presented oral argument and successfully defended the district court’s decision. The Utah Supreme Court made several notable holdings:
- Physician performing IME of examinee does not owe a duty of care to an examinee;
- Although a duty may exist between a health care provider performing an IME and an examinee in certain limited circumstances, this duty does not extend to harm claimed to have been suffered as a result of delay in legal proceedings;
- There is no physician-patient relationship between IME examiner and examinee; and
- General policy considerations favor no duty owed to claimant by doctor who conducted the IME.
Battino v. Redi-Carpet Sales of Utah, LLC, No. 20-4081, 2021 WL 4144974. (https://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/sites/ca10/files/opinions/010110574920.pdf)
Scarlet Smith presented oral argument to the 10th Circuit of the Federal Court of Appeals, defending the district court’s decision on summary judgment.
Battino, a new mother, sued her employer, Redi-Carpet Sales of Utah, LLC, arguing that she was denied the unpaid leave afforded to her under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The court found that FMLA protections didn’t apply. And the fact that Redi-Carpet had told her she was entitled to FMLA leave was of no consequence because she failed to show she “either actually or reasonably relied, to her detriment, on Redi Carpet’s FMLA representation.”