Paredes v. Labor Comm'n

Annotate this Case
Paredes v. Labor Comm'n, Case No. 20000371-CA, Filed October 4, 2001 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS


Claudia Paredes,


Labor Commission and
Primary Children's Hospital,

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 20000371-CA

October 4, 2001 2001 UT App 283 -----

Original Proceeding in this Court

Claudia Paredes, Salt Lake City, Petitioner Pro Se
Steven C. Bednar, Candice Anderson Vogel, and Alan Hennebold, Salt Lake City, for Respondents


Before Judges Jackson, Orme, and Thorne.

THORNE, Judge:

Petitioner Claudia Paredes (Paredes) appeals from an order of the Utah Labor Commission Appeals Board (the Board) denying her Motion for Review. We affirm.

A. Paredes's Request for Oral Argument

Initially, we address Paredes's request for oral argument and for a one hour time extension for that argument. After reviewing the record in this matter, primarily the administrative law judge's (ALJ) ruling and the Board's ruling upholding the ALJ's decision, all contained in the addenda to the parties' briefs, as well as Respondents' brief, we conclude that "the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument." Utah R. App. P. 29(3). Accordingly, we deny Paredes's request for oral argument.

B. Paredes's Appeal

Paredes has pursued this appeal pro se. While Paredes was clearly entitled to represent herself in this appeal, "[g]enerally, a person who represents . . . herself 'will be held to the same standard of knowledge and practice as any qualified member of the bar.'" Wurst v. Department of Employment Sec., 818 P.2d 1036, 1039 n.3 (Utah Ct. App. 1991) (quoting Nelson v. Jacobsen, 669 P.2d 1207, 1213 (Utah 1983)). That said, "a layperson acting as . . . her own attorney 'should be accorded every consideration that may reasonably be indulged.'" Id. (citation omitted). Reasonable consideration does not, however, require this court to "'redress the ongoing consequences of the party's decision to function in a capacity for which [s]he is not trained.'" Id. (citation omitted).

Rule 24 of the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure sets forth the Utah appellate courts' briefing requirements. 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 may be disregarded or stricken sua sponte by the court." Id. at ¶8. "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).

Here, Paredes's brief contains no statement of the issues presented for review, no statement showing the jurisdiction of this court, no standard of appellate review, no table of authorities, and no citation to the record. See Utah R. App. P. 24. Paredes has also completely failed to cite any legal authority to support her claim. Indeed, Paredes merely rehashes the argument she made to both the ALJ and the Board. See Smith 1999 UT App 370 at ¶13. Because Paredes has "shift[ed] the burden of research and argument to [this court]." State v. Thomas, 961 P.2d 299, 305 (Utah 1998), we decline to consider her claim.

Paredes has also failed to satisfy the marshaling requirement. In Moon v. Moon, 1999 UT App 12, 973 P.2d 431, 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." Id. 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, Paredes not only makes the same argument presented to both the ALJ and the Board, she also fails to marshal "'every scrap of competent evidence introduced at trial which supports the very findings [Paredes] resists.'" Id. (citation omitted). Accordingly, "we assume[] that the record supports the findings of the [Board]." Id. (internal quotations and citation omitted).

Finally, we have carefully reviewed the record and considered Paredes's concerns. Our review clearly shows that the record adequately supports both the ALJ's initial ruling and the Board's subsequent decision affirming that ruling.

The judgment of the Utah Labor Commission Appeals Board is therefore affirmed, and Paredes's request for oral argument is denied.

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


Norman H. Jackson,
Associate Presiding Judge -----

ORME, Judge (concurring in the result):

Perhaps petitioner's brief is not a model of compliance with Rule 24, as is quite common for briefs written by persons who are not trained in the law, but I found the brief adequate to understand petitioner's basic complaint. She contends that irregularities in the proceedings and bias in favor of her former employer tainted the process and that she is entitled either to a new administrative hearing or to have us consider the entire record and decide her petition de novo.

That having been said, petitioners and appellants always bear the burden of persuading this court they are entitled to the relief they seek. Petitioner in this case has not met that burden; she has not persuaded me that she is entitled to the relief she requests. On that basis alone, I agree we should not disturb the Appeals Board's decision in this case.

Gregory K. Orme, Judge