PARTNER - FOUNDING MEMBER
Jeremy Jones founded Nelson Jones along with his partners after graduating from one of America’s top 20 juris doctorate programs at the University of Minnesota Law School. Jeremy’s practice focuses on fighting for the rights of clients embroiled in divorce and other family law issues. Jeremy also represents law enforcement and other municipal employees at administrative tribunals throughout Utah, and before the Utah Court of Appeals.
Clerked for Presiding Judge Bruce Peterson at the Hennepin County,
Minnesota Family Court-January 2008 - September 2008
Rawson & Goff, February 2011 - December 2011
Mumford Rawson, December 2011 - June 2013
Nelson Jones, PLLC, January 2014 - Present
Hollenbach v. Salt Lake City Civil Service Commission, 2016 UT App 64.- A municipality refused to hear an employee’s appeal of termination. It claimed that the appeal could not be considered because it was received after the deadline, even though undisputed record evidence showed that the appeal had been mailed before the deadline. The city supported its claim by advancing the narrowest possible interpretation of what would be considered “filed” under its rules. Hollenbach appealed, noting the existence of a statute of general applicability that provided that a document was “filed” with a governmental entity based on the postmark on the envelope. The Court of Appeals held that cities could not create or interpret their rules in a manner inconsistent with state statute or in a way that disadvantaged officers relative to Utah’s statutes. The Court found that the appeal had been timely filed under the statute and ordered the city to hear the appeal on the merits
Aiono v. Utah Department of Corrections, 2017 UT App 143. The Utah Department of Corrections terminated a corrections officer for interacting with a distant family member who was incarcerated. The officer had been assigned the shift as part of an overtime assignment, had identified her family member’s presence on the unit to the shift leader, and only had incidental contact with the family member during transport to the mess hall. The agency supported termination not based on any written policy but based on what it claimed after the fact was “best practice” for supervising an incarcerated family member. The Court of appeals vacated the termination and reinstated the officer, holding that officers are entitled to rely on written policy and agencies cannot discipline officers based on claims of “best practices.” The Court of appeals also held that it was entitled to review agency policy and determine the the plain meaning of the language used. This was a sea change from the prior practice of agencies claiming that they were the sole and final arbiters of the meaning of their policies. The employee was reinstated with over a significant award of back pay.
Palmer v. St. George City Council, St. George Police Department, Et Al., 2018 UT App 94. A municipality suspended a sergeant for 40 hours based on allegations that evidence was mishandled and a report was untimely. The officer challenged the discipline and requested that the city provide material that would show whether other officers had been treated similarly in relation to similar allegations. The city flatly refused, claiming the information was “irrelevant.” The city appeals board ignored the officer’s request to rule on the issue and require disclosure and upheld the suspension in a one-sentence opinion. The Court of appeals held first that due process requires employers to provide employees direct access to material that would help employees evaluate whether they had been treated proportionately or consistently. In doing so, the Court also held that employee were not required to seek records via other means, such as by initiating separate actions under state open records laws. The court of appeals further held that the city appeals board had violated the employee’s due process by failing to explain its reasons for upholding the discipline, establishing a bright-line rule that such bodies must make adequate factual findings to support their decisions such that their rationale can be evaluated on appeal. The suspension was set aside and remanded for a new hearing where the city ultimately settled the case.
Scott v. Benson, 2021 UT App 110. A man lived with a woman and raised her child from a previous relationship beginning at birth. At all points it was known to the parties that there was no biological relationship between the man and the child. The child’s biological father died shortly after birth and the man willingly functioned as the child’s father for a number of years with mother’s assent and agreement. After a time the mother received a DUI and suffered from minor mental health issues. In order to ensure the child would continue to have a parent figure in the event something happened to her, mother and the man agreed to submit a “voluntary declaration of paternity” attesting that the man was the child’s father and should be granted rights to the child. The man continued to act as the child’s only father figure until the child was approximately seven years old, at which time mother suddenly and without explanation cut off all contact between the child and the man. Man filed a petition for paternity to vindicate his rights as a father under the voluntary declaration of paternity filed years earlier. Mother vociferously opposed the action, asserting that the declaration of paternity was void because the parties knew that man was not a biological parent of the child. The trial court ruled in the man’s favor, reasoning that mother should be prevented from denying that man’s paternity based on her own prior conduct. Mother appealed, arguing that the declaration of paternity was void due to underlying fraud. The Court of appeals sided with father, holding that Utah law permits non-biologically related men to attain legal parentage rights to children in narrow circumstances. The Court found that while the voluntary declaration of paternity did incorrectly represent the man’s biological relationship with the child, the trial court was nonetheless entitled to to proceed under the statute, which allows courts to consider the conduct of the parties and the best interests of the child in determining parentage rights. The man’s rights as a father were confirmed and the case was remanded to the trial court to enter orders regarding parent time and other issues attendant to custody.