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Carolyn B. McHugh
Years active 1982–present

Carolyn Baldwin McHugh is the associate presiding judge of the Utah Court of Appeals [1]

Early life and education[edit]

Carolyn B. McHugh was born in _____ in 19__. In 1978, Judge McHugh received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah's College of Law in 1982 where she was an editor of the Utah Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif. McHugh graduated number two in her class. While at law school, McHugh received many honors[2], including:

  • Order of the Coif [3]
  • American Jurisprudence Awards for the Highest Grade in Antitrust, Constitutional Law II, Criminal Law, Evidence, Torts, and Trusts and Estates
  • William H. Leary Scholar, 1979–82
  • Eccles Fellow, 1981–82

Upon graduation, she became the law clerk for Judge Bruce S. Jenkins of the United States District Court for the District of Utah from August 1982 to August 1983.

Legal career[edit]

Judge McHugh worked as an associate of the Salt Lake City law firm of Parr Waddoups Brown Gee & Loveless from September 1983 to April 1987. In April 1987, she became a shareholder in the firm. During her time there she concentrated her practice in the areas of commercial litigation (i.e. commercial fraud, antitrust, contract disputes, etc.) and family law (i.e. divorce, custody, adoption, etc.).

Judicial career[edit]

In August 2005, McHugh was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. and has been there since. In 2010, McHugh was appointed to serve on the Judicial Conduct Commission by the Utah Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created when Judge Russell Bench, who retired on December 31, 2009. Judge Bench's term expires in July 2012; McHugh will fill the vacancy and the high court will consider reappointing her for a full four-year term. By law, the Utah Supreme Court is required to appoint two judges and two lawyers to the Commission and one must be from the Court of Appeals.[4]

Professional and community service[edit]

  • 1996 – Chairperson of the Utah State Bar Distinguished Committee
  • 1997 – University of Utah College of Law Young Alumna of the Year
  • 2001 – Christine M. Durham Utah Woman Lawyer of the Year
  • 2009 – Dorothy Merrill Brothers Award for the Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession

Judge McHugh is a past president of Women Lawyers in Utah, past co-chair of the American Var Association Conference of Environmental Law, and past chair of the Utah State Bar Needs of Children Committee. Current positions held by McHugh include the Judicial Conduct Commission, Advanced Science & Technology Adjudication Resource Center, Judicial Outreach Committee, Utah Courts Technology Committee, American Inns of Court, and several others. During her career, McHugh was a member, board member, president, trustee, etc. in the Catholic Community Services, Office of the Guardian Ad Litem, Utah Children's Budget Advisory Committee, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Salt Lake.[2]

Select cases[edit]

In "Fish v. Fish", 2010 UT App 292; 242 P.3d 787, the Court of Appeals - opinion authored by Judge McHugh - reversed and remanded to the trial court its alimony award to the wife of $800 per month for 27 years based upon the imputed income to the husband and the use of the wife's part-time income. The Court of Appeals determined that the trial court properly imputed income to the husband when it found that the husband was underemployed. When the husband tried to argue that the income wasn't imputed to him because he was attending technical school, the Court rejected the argument because according to Utah Code a person receiving training beyond established basic job skills they are exempt from being imputed income. The Court of Appeals remanded to the trial court to make findings supporting the amount of imputed income because the trial court found that husband could earn between $30,000 and $40,000, but the vocational assessment expert testified that he could earn between $24,000 and $57,000. Because the trial court had its separate estimate of income from the vocational assessment expert, the trial court was required to make specific findings to support their arrival of the income to impute to the husband. Also, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the amount of alimony, $800, because the trial court's findings did not support the claim that the husband was capable of paying $800 per month. The trial court determined the wife's actual income from her part-time employment, but because the court was unable to provide evidence portraying the wife as unable to work full time, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's orders. Lastly, the Court of Appeals directed the trial court to equalize both spouses incomes in the case where there is insufficient income available for the couple to remain at the marital standard of living.

Judge McHugh wrote an opinion in the case of Birch v. Fire Insurance Exchange, 122 P.3d 696 (Ut. ct. App 2005).[5] Randy Birch filed a claim with Fire Insurance Exchange (Fire) when a fire, started by neighborhood children playing with matches, spread to his house and damaged his fence and landscaping; also for his shed and land, which were damaged by the red retardant used to stop the fire. The insurance policy provided coverage for the full replacement cost of the damaged property subject to a $500.00 deductible. Fire then sought subrogation from the insurers of the neighborhood children. Fire settled with the children's insurers for 95% of the $7,732.91 replacement cost, or $7,346.26. The parties stipulated at the hearing in the trial court that the 5% reduction reflected the depreciated value of the property at the time it was destroyed. The parties further stipulated that the 95% settlement was reasonable. Fire then delivered a check to Birch for $475.00, or 95% of his $500.00 deductible, bringing his total recovery to $7,707.91. Displeased, Birch inquired on why he didn't receive the deductible in whole. Fire responded by stating that he was only entitled to recover a part of the deductible in proportion with the recovery. Birch then filed a class action lawsuit to recover the full amount of the deductible. The district court granted Fire's Motion for Summary Judgement, and Birch appeals. Birch claimed that he was not "made whole" - used by Utah Supreme Court to describe the insured's recovery rights in subrogation. Rather the being "made whole", Birch argues that he didn't legally receive all for the total damages or the loss he sustained. However, Fire claims that Birch has been "made whole" because he had received more than his actual damages - the depreciated value of his property at the time it was destroyed by the fire. Under the insurance contract with Fire, Birch had a right to recover more than his actual loss if the deductible wasn't considered. In this case, with the deductible considered, Birch received the deductible on top of everything else, which totaled to more than what he should've actually received. In the end, Birch received $361.65 more than what he should've received, thus, granting him double recovery. Since Birch had received all that he was entitled to and more, the trial court granted the summary judgement in favor of Fire. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court ruling.

In 2007, Judge McHugh authored the opinion of the court in Millet v. Logan City, 147 P. 3d 971 (2006), 2006 UT App 466.[6] On November 15, 2000, the Logan Municipal Council adopted an Ordinance which made it unlawful for private property owners to immobilize trespassing vehicles unless the owner first complies with the regulations contained within the Ordinance. On November 15, 2003, Millet's vehicle was immobilized by a boot attached by the Cache Auto Booting Service (Cache). At the time, Millet's vehicle was parked in a parking lot owned by D's Bridgerland Apartments, Inc (Bridgerland), where he was a resident of the complex. To have the boot removed, Millet had to pay $50. Several months after the incident, Millet contacted Cache and demanded a refund of the $50 to remove the device. Cache refused and referred to the Ordinance for the legality of the booting. Denied his refund of the $50, Millet brought a single claim against Logan, Bridgerland, and Cache, claiming that they had violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. Defendants moved to dismiss the case for failing to state a sufficient claim for relief. The trial court determined that Millet's complaint didn't allege facts sufficient to support a finding of state action under the Fourteenth Amendment. Millet subsequently appealed and the Court of Appeals, in a unanimous opinion affirmed the trial court.

Utah Court of Appeals[edit]

The Utah Court of Appeals is the intermediate-level appellate court for the state of Utah. It began operations in 1987.


The court's jurisdiction is complementary to that of the Utah Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals hears all appeals from the Juvenile and District Courts, except those from the small claims department of a District Court. It also determines appeals from District Court involving domestic relations cases, including divorce, annulment, division of property (Utah is an "equitable distribution" state), child custody, child support, visitation, adoption and paternity, and some criminal matters (those that are not first degree felonies or capital cases). The Court also hears appeals from administrative proceedings by state agencies including the Utah Industrial Commission and the Department of Employment Security Career Service Review Board. It also hears cases transferred to it by the Supreme Court.


The panels hear oral arguments in cases during the third and fourth week of the month. After hearing arguments, the judges confer together to discuss the issues raised in the case. One of the judges on the panel is assigned to write the opinion of the court. In addition to its oral argument panels, the court designates three judges to sit on the law and motion panel. This panel determines procedural and substantive motions and hears cases on one day per month.


The court consists of seven judges who serve six-year renewable terms. A presiding judge is elected by majority vote to serve for two years. Court of Appeals sessions usually are conducted in Salt Lake City, but the court travels several times per year, holding court in different geographical regions of the state. The court sits and renders judgment in rotating panels of three judges. It is prohibited by statute from sitting en banc (all seven members at once).

The seven judges on the court as of 2011 are:


  1. ^ [1], Utah Court of Appeals Carolyn B. McHugh Biography.
  2. ^ a b [2], Carolyn Baldwin McHugh Biography PDF.
  3. ^ [3], Order of the Coif Official Website.
  4. ^ [4] Utah Appelate Judge Carolyn McHugh to serve on Judicial Conduct Commission Article.
  5. ^ Birch v. Fire Insurance Exchange. FindLaw. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  6. ^ Millet v. Logan City. FindLaw. Retrieved November 10, 2011.

External links[edit]


Category:Living people Category:State appellate courts Category:Utah state courts