The Appellate Group

Hitesman v. University of Utah

Hitesman v. University of Utah, 2021 UT App 99 (Pohlman, J.)

Civil Procedure

After resigning from her work as a sponsored project officer at the University of Utah, Plaintiff brought a claim against the University for violations of the Equal Pay Act, which prohibits wage discrimination based on sex. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the University based on its arguments that the pay discrepancy was based on factors other than gender (which is a statutory affirmative defense). The Utah Court of Appeals reversed:

  • To obtain summary judgement based on the assertion of an affirmative defense, a party must prove the affirmative defense so clearly that no rational jury could find to the contrary. Here, although the University raised two affirmative defenses, it did not produce such overwhelming undisputed evidence as to compel a conclusion that it was entitled to an affirmative defense as a matter of law. Thus, the district court erred in granting summary judgment.

Read the full court opinion