The Appellate Group

Heath v. Division of Consumer Protection

Heath v. Division of Consumer Protection, 2023 UT App 45 (Christiansen Forster, J.)

Statutory Interpretation

Heath was cited for multiple violations of the Utah Administrative Code and Utah
Consumer Sales Practices Act by the Division. Heath filed a petition for review in
the district court challenging the citations. After a two-day trial de novo, the
district court found nine violations and fined Heath $20,000. The Utah Court
of Appeals affirmed in part
, reversed in part, holding, in part:

  • The district court inappropriately found one violation sua sponte.
  • The district court evaluated two violations using the wrong mens rea standard.
  • Practice Tip: The Court cautioned that when challenging a district court’s factual findings, merely identifying contrary evidence is insufficient. The challenging party must “deal with” the evidence on which the district court relied.
  • Judicial Tip: The Court vacated the one violation the district court found sua sponte because it was not contained in the administrative citation nor considered in the administrative proceedings. The violation could not be considered in the first instance in the district court. Only issues brought before the factfinder’s attention at the administrative level may be litigated in a de novo review in the district court.

Read the full court opinion