Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Pilot v. Hill

Court of Appeals of Utah

June 7, 2018

Robert Pilot, Appellant,
v.
Earl N. Hill, Appellee.

          Third District Court, Silver Summit Department The Honorable Kara Pettit No. 140500187

          Karra J. Porter, Kristen C. Kiburtz, and Edward T. Wells, Attorneys for Appellant

          Kristin A. VanOrman, S. Spencer Brown, and Jessica J. Johnston, Attorneys for Appellee

          Judge David N. Mortensen authored this Opinion, in which Judges Kate A. Toomey and Diana Hagen concurred.

          MORTENSEN, JUDGE.

         ¶1 In an effort to promote proportional discovery practices, Utah adopted tier designations in 2011 whereby parties must plead an amount of damages that correlates to one of three specified tiers. These tier designations have far-reaching effects on how parties handle discovery during a case. Corresponding with this, tier designations also impose limits on the amount of damages a plaintiff can ultimately recover. Robert Pilot seeks to circumvent those intended effects after trial by amending his original tier designation from Tier 2 to Tier 3, a change that would increase the amount of damages he is entitled to recover. We affirm the trial court's denial of his motion to amend.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶2 Earl N. Hill's vehicle rear-ended Pilot's vehicle, causing Pilot personal injuries. Pilot filed suit and specifically pleaded, "This is a Tier II case." A Tier 2 designation sets the range of damages between $50, 000 and less than $300, 000, Utah R. Civ. P. 26(c)(3), and limits the amount of discovery the parties may conduct, id. R. 26(c)(5).

         ¶3 Before trial, Pilot's expert economist estimated that Pilot's total economic damages were close to $1, 000, 000 and that his future wage loss was approximately $634, 000. Nevertheless, the parties completed discovery and proceeded to trial with no amendments to the original pleadings.

         ¶4 During a pretrial conference, the trial court attempted to address the tier designation while working through the jury instructions. The court asked, "And then this last thing just to make sure that I guess I'm understanding how the parties anticipate approaching the Tier 2 aspect of it. That you just present your evidence and then if they come up with a verdict of $300, 000 or more, it gets reduced?" Hill's counsel responded, "Right, " while Pilot's counsel responded, "Yeah, I think we deal with that after trial."

         ¶5 At trial, Pilot's expert testified as expected with no objection. The jury awarded $640, 989 in damages to Pilot. Pilot then filed a motion to amend his pleading under rule 15(b) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing that "the issue of damages exceeding $299, 999 was tried by implied consent." The trial court denied the motion, ruling that Hill "had no reason to believe the evidence presented by [Pilot's] expert was being introduced to allow [Pilot] to recover damages above $300, 000, and was not simply introduced to establish what, if any, injuries [Pilot] suffered for purposes of recovering damages up to $299, 999."

         ¶6 Pilot appeals.

         ISSUE AND STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶7 Pilot challenges the trial court's denial of his rule ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.