Defending bicycle manufacturer against trademark lawsuit
We represented the U.S. arm of a global bicycle manufacturer and distributor, that were sued in Utah District Court for trademark infringement. The plaintiff is a Utah company that manufactures wheels, forks, seat posts, handlebars and stems along with composite tubes for custom bicycle frame builders. We defended the bicycle manufacturer against these allegations.
For more information contact: Samuel Alba
Nurse action did not cause patient paralysis
A 34-year-old woman was severely injured in a motor vehicle accident. She was transported to the University Hospital intensive care unit for treatment. She sued the Hospital, alleging nursing staff moved her improperly and caused paralysis. SCM defended the Hospital. After seven days, the jury found no breach of the standard of care, and the plaintiff appealed. The lower court’s decision was affirmed by the Utah Court of Appeals, but then overturned by the Utah Supreme Court on the basis of a jury instruction. The case was re-tried several years later. This time, the plaintiff (with new counsel) requested $16 million in damages. Once again, the jury found no breach of the standard of care. This time, the Hospital agreed to waive pursuit of costs and the plaintiff agreed not to appeal.
For more information contact: Bradley R. Blackham
Bank prevails in massive and noteworthy bankruptcy dispute
C.W. Mining, an entity operating a coal mine in Utah, deposited $362,000 with our client, the Bank of Utah. In turn, the bank issued a certificate of deposit to the company for that same amount. In 2008, creditors filed an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition against C.W. Mining, which was converted to a Chapter 7 later that year. The Bank liquidated the COD and applied the proceeds to the balance owing on two of three C.W. Mining promissory notes. The bank did not notify the trustee, who commenced an adversary proceeding seeking to recover these assets. The bankruptcy court granted summary judgment in favor of the bank, a decision that was affirmed by the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. The Trustee appealed to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which also affirmed the bank’s summary judgment. SCM represented the bank in matters related to this bankruptcy.
For more information contact: Matthew Cox
Chief Operating Officer involved in prominent Idaho securities fraud case
SCM represented an Idaho-based commercial real estate investment company which filed for bankruptcy. After an investigation showed that company had defrauded investors, five principals were accused of 83 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy. The indictment sought forfeiture of properties and assets totaling $185 million. This was the largest fraud case ever tried in Idaho. Four of the officers pleaded not guilty. Our firm represented the fifth, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, who pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He also provided information that was vital in securing the costly convictions of his former colleagues. At our client’s sentencing, we persuaded the court to order only 30 days in jail and $300,000 in restitution – and agreed to offset that order with a $300,000 payment our client had made previously in a related civil case.
For more information contact: Nathan Crane
When life is threatened children can be treated against the will of their parents
A child in Utah was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone or in soft tissue. In this case, the child’s parents refused to treat him. The State of Utah brought medical neglect proceedings against the parents in Juvenile Court – which ordered the treatment. The parents fled the State with their son and the State dropped the case. Then, the plaintiffs sued the State-employed pediatric oncologists who had sought the order for deprivation of their civil rights. SCM represented the oncologists in this matter. After lengthy discovery, summary judgment was granted. When the plaintiffs appealed, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court affirmed the decision and sent the case back to the State court, where it was dismissed once again on a summary judgment that was affirmed by the Utah Supreme Court. These important cases established that, in life-threatening cases, the State of Utah has the duty and power to use the Juvenile Courts to obtain orders to treat children against the will of their parents.
For more information contact: Andrew M. Morse
Orem police officers justified in killing of car thief
A police officer was in pursuit of a car thief. After a lengthy chase on a winter’s night, the man abandoned the stolen car and began to run away. The officer chased him. When the officer was within six feet of the car thief, the thief turned and assumed a three-point shooter’s stance with what appeared to be a pistol in his hand. While backing up to seek cover, the officer fired two shots – one of which hit the car thief in the hip. In the meantime, another officer had arrived on the scene. This officer shot the car thief two times – killing him. A wrongful death claim was filed against the officers. We represented the officers which resulted in a defense verdict for both officers following a two-week jury trial.
For more information contact: Andrew M. Morse
Trial counsel in failed merger between two chemical companies
Represented a large chemical company and hedge fund in connection with a $10.6 billion merger agreement that failed after the world economy fell into recession and the merging companies experienced unexpected financial results. Participated as trial counsel in the prestigious Delaware Chancery Court, where some of the nation’s most important business disputes are decided. The trial and its implications, which were covered in depth by national media, helped define key elements of the law governing mergers and acquisitions.
For more information contact: Keith A. Call
Law firm not liable for malpractice in guidance of estate
Represented a large law firm in connection with a seven-figure estate planning lawsuit, in which the law firm was charged with malpractice and breach of contract. We obtained summary judgment for the law firm on the basis that the plaintiff’s alleged harm was unrelated to the law firm’s services. This decision was affirmed by the Utah Court of Appeals in favor of our client.
For more information contact: Keith A. Call
Ski resort achieves favorable settlement in software development dispute
Represented a world-class ski resort in connection with a seven-figure dispute over the development of a complex website that was supposed to include innovative e-commerce, analytics, and interactive mobile tracking features. After our client received a demand for additional payments for a website that did not meet contractual requirements, we filed suit in New York Federal District Court. We successfully negotiated an agreement that gave our client full ownership of all software code, developed to date, without making any additional payment.
For more info contact: Keith A. Call
Vice President of Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Committee acquitted
We successfully defended the former vice-president of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee. We obtained summary judgment of acquittal in the government’s case alleging wrongdoing in connection with the efforts to bring the 2002 Winter Olympics to Utah.
For more information contact: Camille N. Johnson
Metro Water District of Salt Lake completes massive water improvement project
In 2007, the Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake and Sandy completed a $250 million water infrastructure project -- designed to meet current and anticipate future water demands of the fast-growing Salt Lake valley. As general counsel to the district, we were closely involved with this project throughout eight years of planning and three years of construction. The project included a new major pipeline, a new state-of-the-art water treatment facility at the Point of the Mountain, and expansion of the Little Cottonwood Water Treatment Plant. We were involved with land acquisition, general specifications, municipal finance and procurement, as well as contract, insurance and tort issues.
For more information contact: Shawn E. Draney
Data Breach: Represented National Company Suffering from Massive Data Loss
The breach involved the personal information of over 10,000 current and former employees in 50 states and Canada. Response efforts included reporting to the appropriate agency in each of the 50 states, the Department of Health and Human Services, the IRS, the media, and any individual potentially affected by the breach. We also coordinated response efforts and the subsequent investigation with local and federal law-enforcement. To further serve our client, we also consulted and advised the client regarding the technical aspects of the breach including data preservation and forensic analysis. We also helped the client with insurance coverage interpretation, public relations, and liability mitigation. Finally, we continue to assist the client with an investigation related to the breach by the Department of Health and Human Services.
For more information contact: Christopher W. Droubay
In Nau v. Safeco Insurance Co. of Illinois, 2017 UT App 44 (Utah Ct. App. Mar. 7, 2017), Snow Christensen & Martineau secured affirmance of summary judgment in favor of uninsured vehicle insurer Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois. In Nau, the claimant lost control of his vehicle on a Utah highway and crashed into the median, suffering serious injuries. He claimed that the accident was caused by a piece of debris in the road left by an unidentified driver, and filed a claim with Safeco for uninsured motorist benefits. The claimant testified that his crash was caused by "a piece of rubber, a piece of concrete, or piece of carpet...something very hard." The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Safeco which was affirmed by the Utah Court of Appeals. The appellate court found that the claimant's testimony could not establish under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur that the debris left in the road was "likely" caused by the negligence of an unidentified motorist. The Court found that the claimant's testimony only established that the debris in the road "possibly" could have been caused by the negligence of an unidentified motorist. Such a finding would have been based purely on speculation, thus creating an insufficient inference to defeat the insurer's summary judgment motion.
In questions certified by the United States District Court for the District of Utah, the Utah Supreme Court in Lancer Ins. Co. v. Lake Shore Motor Coach Lines, Inc., 2017 UT 8 (Utah Feb. 15, 2017) held that Utah Code Ann. Sec. 31A-22-303(l) required motor vehicle insurers to cover drivers who cause injuries because of sudden incapacitation on a strict liability basis. The High Court found that the statute abrogated the state’s common-law “sudden incapacity” defense in which an incapacitated driver could raise incapacity as an affirmative defense, and injured parties could only recover under a showing of fault. The insurer would only be liable to cover such injuries up to the amount available by the applicable automobile liability policy.
For more information contact: Richard A. Vazquez