The Appellate Group

Cook Martin Poulson PC v. Smith

Cook Martin Poulson PC v. Smith, 2021 UT App 60 (Christiansen Forster, J.)


A business sought to enforce a judgment against a defendant. The district court issued a writ of execution directing the sheriff to seize livestock. When the sheriff sought to execute the writ, the defendant refused to turn over some cattle; he later sold the cattle, put money from that sale into a bank account, and used money from that account. After the business continued to struggle to enforce the judgment, the business requested a telephone conference. At that conference, the court said it was there on a motion for sanctions (a motion that was never filed), and it held the defendant in contempt. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed, holding:

  • None of the court’s orders alerted the defendant that spending money from the bank account would be a subject at a contempt hearing. 
  • The defendant did not receive adequate notice that the hearing on the business’s motion for a telephone conference would be one in which he needed to be prepared to defend himself against contempt allegations.

Read the full court opinion