McFadden v. Diefenderfer

Annotate this Case
McFadden v. Diefenderfer, Case Nos. 20000611-CA, 20000936-CA, Filed July 19, 2001 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS

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Gary McFadden
and Kathleen McFadden,
Plaintiffs and Appellees,

v.

Russell J. Diefenderfer
and Paula J. Diefenderfer,
Defendants and Appellants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION
(Not For Official Publication)

Case Nos. 20000611-CA
20000936-CA

F I L E D
July 19, 2001 2001 UT App 227 -----

Third District, Salt Lake Department
The Honorable Glenn K. Iwasaki

Attorneys:
Russell J. Diefenderfer and Paula J. Diefenderfer, Salt Lake City, Appellants Pro Se
Jay Mohlman, Bountiful, for Appellees

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Before Judges Jackson, Bench, and Thorne.

THORNE, Judge:

On December 15, 2000, this court issued an order consolidating the appeals of Russell and Paula Diefenderfer (the Diefenderfers), Case No. 20000611, and Gary and Kathleen McFadden (the McFaddens), Case No 20000936, for purpose of decision. We address the cases in that order.

The Diefenderfers appeal from an order determining that funds totaling $1,008.22, on deposit in their bank account at Key Bank, are subject to garnishment.

The McFaddens appeal from a subsequent order determining that funds totaling $1,158.57, on deposit in the Diefenderfers' bank account at Key Bank, are not subject to garnishment in their entirety because those funds were wages derived from personal services.

We affirm the trial court's rulings in both instances.

I. The Diefenderfers' Appeal, Case No. 20000611

The Diefenderfers argue that funds totaling $1,008.22, on deposit in their bank account, are exempt from garnishment because they constitute "wages . . . from personal services." Utah R. Civ. P. 64D(d)(4)(iv), (vii). While the Diefenderfers raise an interesting claim, we decline to consider it because (1) they have not adequately briefed the claim, see State v. Yates, 834 P.2d 599, 602 (Utah Ct. App. 1992); and (2) they have failed to marshal the evidence supporting the trial court's order. SeeMoon v. Moon, 1999 UT App 12,¶24, 973 P.2d 431 (stating that the duty to marshal the evidence when challenging the trial court's findings of fact is a critical requirement of appellate advocacy).

In Smith v. Smith, 1999 UT App 370, 995 P.2d 14, we explained that "[b]riefs that are not in compliance with Rule 24 [of the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure] may be disregarded or stricken sua sponte by the court." Id. at ¶8 (citing Utah R. App. P. 24(j)). "An issue is inadequately briefed when 'the overall analysis of the issue is so lacking as to shift the burden of research and argument to the reviewing court.'" Id. (citation omitted).

In the present matter, the Diefenderfers fail to cite any relevant legal authority in their brief supporting their claim. Indeed, they merely rehash the argument they made to the trial court. See id. at ¶13. As such, the Diefenderfers have "shift[ed] the burden of research and argument to [this court]." State v. Thomas, 961 P.2d 299, 305 (Utah 1998). Accordingly, because the Diefenderfers have inadequately briefed their claim, we decline to consider it.

We also conclude that the Diefenderfers have failed to satisfy the marshaling requirement. In Moon, we explained that "a critical requirement of appellate advocacy . . . [is] the duty to marshal the evidence when challenging the trial court's findings of fact." Moon, 1999 UT App 12 at ¶24. Further, we explained that "[w]hen an appellant fails to meet the heavy burden of marshaling the evidence, . . . we assume[] that the record supports the findings of the trial court." Id. (internal quotations and citations omitted).

Here, the Diefenderfers not only reargue the same facts and evidence previously considered by the trial court, they also fail to marshal "'every scrap of competent evidence introduced at trial which supports the very findings the [Diefenderfers] resist[].'" Id. Accordingly, because the Diefenderfers fail to satisfy the marshaling requirement, "we assume[] that the record supports the findings of the trial court." Id. (internal quotations and citation omitted).

II. The McFaddens' Appeal, Case No. 20000936

The McFaddens argue that funds totaling $1,158.57, on deposit in the Diefenderfers' bank account, "lose their identity as wages or disposable earnings once they are deposited in a bank account." While they too present an interesting claim, we do not reach the merits of the McFaddens' claim because they have also failed to satisfy the marshaling requirement. See id.

The judgments of the trial court are therefore affirmed.
 
 

______________________________
William A. Thorne, Jr., Judge -----

WE CONCUR:
 
 

______________________________
Norman H. Jackson,
Associate Presiding Judge
 
 

______________________________
Russell W. Bench, Judge