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February 26, 2009

Sick Leave & the Law

No Federal, State or local law requires your employer to pay you if you take a day off because you're sick or need to care for a family member due to a short-term illness.

However, if the illness or other health-related concern (such as pregnancy) requires an extended time away from work, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may apply. All public agencies, including state and Federal employers, and private employers with more than 50 employees, are required to provide FMLA-protected leave.

So, what are your options if you just have the flu or a nasty cold?

• Consult your human resources policy. If your employer does allow you to take paid sick days, it should be spelled out in the HR manual. The manual should also detail how many sick hours you accrue per pay period or hours worked.
• Check out the Utah laws related to labor, particularly Title 34 and 34A.
• The Utah Labor Commission provides information for both employers and employees about State labor laws.
• The U.S. Department of Labor has information about the Federal laws pertaining to workers, particularly the FMLA and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Special thanks to Margo Bird, Human Resources Representative, for her editorial advice.

February 25, 2009

New Court of Appeals briefs

We recently received 31 new Court of Appeals briefs. The docket numbers range from 20060920CA to 20080239CA.

If you're looking for a specific brief, contact us by phone or email to make sure we have it.

Remember, you can always browse or make copies of briefs at the law library, or we can scan and email them to you at a cost of 25¢ per page.

New Book - 2008 Laws of Utah

We have just received the four-volume 2008 edition of the Laws of Utah, a compilation of our state's session laws enacted during the 2008 legislative session published in chronological order. Session laws are ultimately incorporated into the Utah Code.

Utah's session laws are also available on the Utah Legislature's website (1998-present). From the Legislature's website:

• Select Bills / Passed Bills
• Select the legislative session
• Click on “Chapter” to sort that column by session law number

Our library has a complete print collection of Utah session laws dating back to 1851.

February 23, 2009

FDSys: A New Way to Access Federal Government Information

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) recently launched FDSys (Federal Digital System), a portal to online federal government information.

FDSys will replace GPO's current website - GPO Access - by the middle of 2009. You can search available collections by basic keyword or advanced search options such as publication date, branch, title, or full-text. Collections currently available include the Federal Register and Congressional Record (1994-present).

FDSys is available as a public beta, which means you can test its features and help improve this valuable website! The public is encouraged to email feedback to pmo@gpo.gov.

Class: Westlaw Basics

This free class will teach you how to search for case law, statutes, and other information using specialized search techniques. You will also learn about the various options for printing and saving.

Thursday, March 12th 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Utah State Law Library
450 South State Street, Room W-13

Register Today!
Registration is required. To reserve your spot:
• Call 238-7990
• Email library@email.utcourts.gov
• Or, stop by the State Law Library

Wireless Password: begin

The wireless password for the week of February 23, 2009 is begin.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

February 19, 2009

Utah Mock Trial Competition - Judges Needed!

Each year junior high and high school students from across the state participate in a mock trial competition. You can participate - as a judge!

Utah Law Related Education is seeking volunteer judges for this year's competition. You do not have to be an attorney to be a judge - both attorney and community volunteer judges are needed. The competition starts February 24th and runs through March 27th.

Information about this year's case and the judge registration form are available on the LRE website.

February 17, 2009

Wireless Password: abide

The wireless password for the week of February 16, 2009 is abide.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

February 12, 2009

Roaches? Mold? Tenants' Rights in Utah

You may have heard the phrase "implied warranty of habitability" as it applies to the condition of an apartment or other rental unit. If you've signed a lease and moved in to your apartment only to discover cockroaches, mold, or other livability issues, you may be wondering if you have to live there, and if your landlord is required to fix the problem.

The Utah Fit Premises Act, found in Title 57 Chapter 22 of the Utah Code, discusses the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants.

Utah Code §57-22- 3(1) states: "Each owner and his agent renting or leasing a residential rental unit shall maintain that unit in a condition fit for human habitation and in accordance with local ordinances and the rules of the board of health having jurisdiction in the area in which the residential rental unit is located. Each residential rental unit shall have electrical systems, heating, plumbing, and hot and cold water." (emphasis added)

To find your county or city ordinances, visit the Utah City and County Government page. For example, the St. George city ordinance on fit premises is found at Title 4 Chapter 7. To find your local ordinance, try using the search terms "fit premises," "habitation," or "nuisance."

For more information about your rights as a tenant, check out the Utah Renters Handbook and the Landlord-Tenant page on the Court's website.

February 10, 2009

Temporary Orders

What if you are in the middle of a divorce action but need child support now?

Parties sometimes need to have temporary orders in place while settling their disputes.

Temporary orders govern child custody and support, parent time, property distribution and other matters during the divorce or parentage proceedings. The parties must follow the temporary orders until they are changed or until final judgment in the case.

Checklists and forms for the court process of obtaining temporary orders are now available on the court website.

February Holiday Hours

The law library, and all Utah State Courts, will be closed on President's Day, Monday, February 16. Regular library hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) resume on February 17.

February 09, 2009

Judge for a Day

Know a high school student who'd like to be a judge for a day?

The Utah State Courts are sponsoring a program to provide high school students with an opportunity to shadow a judge for one day in April or May. The school selects a student to participate in the program based on a Law Day theme-related essay, civic involvement resume, or a teacher nomination.

An application form along with a Law Day theme-related essay, civic involvement resume, or teacher nomination needs to be submitted by March 6, 2009.

Delegation of Parental or Guardian Powers

Utah law allows a parent to temporarily delegate legal authority of a minor child by completing a power of attorney form. A court-appointed guardian can delegate authority over a protected person in the same way. The delegation can last up to six months at a time. To delegate authority, the parent or guardian must complete a power of attorney form.

Information about the delegation of powers, a checklist, a power of attorney form, and a form for the revocation of the power of attorney are now available on the court website.

Wireless Password: zoned

The wireless password for the week of February 9, 2009 is zoned.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

February 05, 2009

Introduction to Resources for Self-Represented Parties Classes

The Utah State Law Library will be offering two classes for the public in February.

The class introduces the resources available for people representing themselves in court, including how to find an attorney, legal clinics, forms, the Online Court Assistance Program and other resources. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the Utah State Law Library introducing the print and electronic resources available.

The classes will be held Monday February 9th and Friday February 27th, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Registration is required because class size is limited. Please call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov to reserve your spot.

The Utah State Law Library is located in the Matheson Courthouse at 450 S. State Street, Room W-13.

New Book - Family Law in Utah, 3rd ed.

We have just received the latest edition of Family Law in Utah by Karen Black, et al.

This substantial book (2.5" thick) covers a wide range of Utah family law topics including marriage, property rights, divorce, annulment, separate maintenance, alimony, child support, child custody, modification and adoption.

February 04, 2009

Fair Debt Collection

It's a sad sign of the times, but more Americans are in debt trouble these days.

If you're being contacted by debt collectors you may feel like you're under seige. A debt collector is any person, other than the original creditor, who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis. You have the right to be treated fairly by debt collectors.

The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) spells out what debt collectors can't do when pursuing payment. Utah also has its own Consumer Credit Code.

The Federal Trade Commission's Credit & Loans: In Debt? page provides a number of helpful fact sheets for those struggling with debt-related issues. The Utah Attorney General's Office Protecting Utah from Fraud page provides links to other resources.

If you feel a debt collector has violated the law, you can report them to the Utah Attorney General's Office and the Federal Trade Commission. You also have the right to sue them in a state or federal court within one year from the date the law was violated.

February 03, 2009

Federal and State Tax Forms and Help

It's tax season! Did you know that all federal and Utah tax forms can be found online?

The IRS has centralized all federal tax forms and publications on their website. You can search for forms or publications by number or title.

Individual Utah State income tax forms are posted on the Utah State Tax Commission's website. This site also includes tax forms for businesses and corporate income taxes.

Need help filling out your tax forms? Utah's free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program offers tax income preparation at locations statewide. To find out if you're eligible for free income tax preparation services, call 211.

Limited Legal Help - A Different Way to Hire a Lawyer

Many people can't afford to hire an attorney.

Limited legal help, also known as limited scope legal representation or unbundled services is an affordable alternative to hiring an attorney to take care of your entire case, also known as full representation. Handling your case entirely on your own takes time and patience and can be confusing and frustrating. People who represent themselves in court are expected to know and follow the same rules that attorneys do.

Under a limited legal help arrangement an attorney and client agree that the attorney will provide specific services for a predetermined fee. For example, the attorney and client could agree that the attorney:

- will only advise the client about the strength of the case, or
- help draft a document, or
- review a document the client has drafted, or
- coach the client for a negotiation, or
- help with the discovery process, or
- coach the client for a hearing, or
- appear in court on behalf of the client for one hearing only, or
- any combination of these kinds of services

Not all cases are suited for limited legal help, and the idea of limited legal help is just beginning to be adopted by attorneys in Utah. Find the names of a couple of attorneys using the Utah Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Directory and talk about the possibility of hiring them to provide you with limited legal help.

Here are lists of attorneys in some areas of the state who offer limited legal help:

2nd District (Davis County - compiled by Davis County Bar Association)
4th District (Utah County - compiled by Central Utah Bar Association)
5th District (Cedar City and St. George - compiled by Southern Utah bar association)

February 02, 2009

Financial Wellness Programs

Salt Lake County Libraries and the Utah State Law Library have partnered with local experts to present a series of financial wellness programs to the Salt Lake community.

These free classes will be offered in March and April. Feel free to attend any or all of the classes. Registration is not required.

1) Estate Planning
Offered at the East Millcreek Library, Tuesday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m.

2) Bankruptcy 101
Offered at the East Millcreek Library, Tuesday, March 3 at 7:00 p.m.
Offered at the Columbus Library, Tuesday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m.

3) Foreclosures 101
Offered at the East Millcreek Library, Tuesday, March 17 at 7:00 p.m.
Offered at the West Jordan Library, Thursday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m.
Offered at the Taylorsville Library, Wednesday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m.

4) Overview of Landlord/Tenant Law
Offered at the East Millcreek Library, Wednesday, April 15 at 7:00 p.m.
Offered at the Columbus Library, Wednesday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m.
Offered at the West Jordan Library, Thursday, April 23 at 7:00 p.m.

Visit the Salt Lake County Library Services map for location information.

Want more information? Contact the Utah State Law Library at 801-238-7990 or library@email.utcourts.gov.

Wirless password: years

The wireless password for the week of February 2, 2009 is years.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.