The Appellate Group

Mitchell v. ARCO Industrial Sales

Mitchell v. ARCO Industrial Sales, 2023 UT App 70 (Oliver, J.)

Appellate Procedure

Mitchell appealed the district court’s ruling barring him from presenting damages as a sanction for failing to file supplemental discovery disclosures required by Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1)(c). ARCO cross-appealed challenging the district court’s decision to strike their Answer and Counterclaim as a sanction for their violation of the court’s discovery orders. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed in part and affirmed in part, holding:

  • Mitchell met his appellate burden of showing a plausible basis to rule in his favor, and it did not need to resolve his arguments on the merits.
  • ARCO’s deficient briefing contained no reviewable challenge to the district court’s conclusions.
  • Practice tip:  A court may rule in favor of an appellant for purposes of that case if the appellee inadequately briefs an argument and the appellant provides a plausible basis for reversal. A non-merits decision is not intended to have precedential value.

Read the full court opinion