Athay v. Rich County, UtahAnnotate this Case
The issue before the Supreme Court in this case centered on an appeal from several district court rulings in an ongoing dispute between Kyle Athay (Athay) and Rich County, Utah (Rich County). Athay was injured in a motor vehicle collision with Daryl Ervin (Ervin), who was fleeing police pursuit. Subsequently, Athay filed a civil suit against the pursuing law enforcement officers from Bear Lake County, Idaho and Rich County. After "Athay II," a jury trial commenced with Rich County as the sole remaining defendant. The jury returned a special verdict for Athay and awarded him $2,720,126.00 in economic damages and $1,000,000 in non-economic damages. The jury found that Ervin was 70% responsible for Athay’s injuries, and that Rich County was responsible for the remaining 30%. On appeal, Rich County argued that the district court made multiple errors: that the district court abused its discretion when it declined to disqualify the presiding judge for the limited purpose of deciding Rich County’s First Motion for a New Trial; that the district court erred by denying Rich County’s first and second motions for new trial; and that the district court erred when it denied Rich County’s Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict. Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the district court.