A memo from the Utah State Bar opposing a bill that would retroactively change the rules governing when a judge can issue an injunction was the focus of a sometimes heated debate Friday afternoon before lawmakers voted along party lines to advance the joint resolution.
The joint resolution amending the Prohibition Rules of Civil Procedure—also known as House Joint Resolution 2, sponsored by Rep. Abortion trigger law. Last summer, Planned Parenthood of Utah filed a lawsuit against the trigger law. That lawsuit is now “the trigger for this[bill],” Brammer said.
The Salt Lake Tribune obtained the memo from the Utah State Bar Association, which was sent to lobbyists and clients on Wednesday and released early Friday. The memo made no mention of the abortion trigger law or pending cases against it. Instead, it focuses on how the joint resolution affects other cases and courts across the state.
The bar regularly takes positions on legislation, but rarely drafts and distributes dissenting memorandums the way HJR2 does.
According to the bar association’s general counsel, Nancy Sylvester, it is the first memo of its kind to be issued since the association’s 2019 opposition to the Tax Equality and Relief Act — which ended in Failed. The bar’s position on other bills at the session will be published on its website at the conclusion of the session, Sylvester said, adding that it would disclose those positions to anyone who inquires.
In his comments Friday morning, Brammer told the Tribune that he had not seen the opposition memo. He then shared his response to the Utah State Bar, in which he asked about examples of cases it could affect.
“Without any substantial real-life examples, hypothetical ‘what if’ scenarios are nothing more than brain-wrenching braggadocio unsuitable for legislative consideration,” Brammer wrote in an email.
Later that afternoon, the pub sent an email to its members about HJR2, noting, “You may have seen some news coverage of this today.”
The email, reviewed by the Tribune, continued, “Rep. Brammer expresses interest in seeing and hearing examples of bans that this will impact. If HJR2 passes, please send examples of bans that need to be re-examined or can be reversed.”
Brammer called the memo a “political stunt” during a meeting of the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on Friday and accused the bar association of leaking it to the media.
The Tribune did not obtain a memo from the Utah State Bar Association or anyone representing it. However, it did receive confirmation of its legitimacy after contacting the pub.
The Republican lawmaker also took issue with the mass email after making the request to the association, saying, “When you came out against the bill, didn’t talk to me, and then came to the committee and said it was just talking points, It’s unfortunate that it got leaked, but you sent this in a mass email to every lawyer in the legal profession, to every one of my peers in my profession – I have a problem with that. “
Sylvester and Mark Morris, a commissioner of the Utah State Bar, spoke during the time allotted for public comment on the joint resolution.
Sylvester told the committee that the bar did not leak the memo to the press, adding, “We did get some information from the press about it because someone else in that email apparently sent it Get out, but it’s not the bar’s intention for the media to interfere in this discussion.”
The bar’s main concern, she said, was the retroactive provisions of the bill and how it might affect litigants and the courts – a concern Morris had also expressed.
“The pub’s position has nothing to do with triggering the law, or any particular case,” Morris said. “The pub’s position is only … as a matter of policy, and because litigants will face increased costs.”
In the memo, the bar wrote that it had received complaints from lawyers in several practice areas, including estate planning, family law and commercial litigation. Several attorneys provided public comments during the meeting. While most opposed the bill, there were also voices in favor.
Brammer told the committee that even after receiving the bar association’s email, he had not received any examples of cases that would have been influenced by other lawyers. But one person who spoke at the meeting said she had a hunch why.
Lisa Petersen, who specializes in employment law, said in her testimony that she has “multiple clients who could be severely impacted by the rule change.”
“In my opinion, showing people examples of how an injunction might trigger a motion to reconsider is very bad practice and violates the code of ethics that we have in place for our clients,” Peterson told the committee, adding, “And there are cases in my There is no clear tracking method in any court system known to tell people which injunctions were issued for which grounds.”
Bramer hit back at her comments that it would be unprofessional to share such details during the wrap-up, saying: “The pub clearly doesn’t think so.”
“The Bar Association thinks this affects justice and all these people are going to be affected, but without any proof before doing so — that’s irresponsible,” Brammer said. “I hope they do better.”
While no formal position has been taken on the bill, Utah courts have also expressed concerns about its potential impact, and the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has repeatedly voiced its opposition.
Of the four committee members in attendance, only one — Senate Minority Leader Luz Escamilla of Salt Lake City — voted against it. Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, chairman of the committee, said he was unhappy with his vote, but would vote “yes” and reconsider it when it comes to Senate deliberations.
“I don’t think the best policy is achieved by trying to pass a bill that affects ongoing litigation,” Weller continued. Time.”