The Appellate Group

Rockwell Transport v. Hooper

Rockwell Transport v. Hooper, 2023 UT App 71 (Oliver, J.)

Civil Procedure

Plaintiff brought direct and derivative claims against other members of the LLC and the new LLC they formed without him. A special litigation committee investigated the derivative claims, and the district court enforced the committee’s determination to settle one derivative claim for conversion and dismiss the remaining derivative claims. The district court also granted summary judgment in favor of defendants on Plaintiff’s direct claims while denying attorney fees for both sides. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding:

  • The district court correctly dismissed Plaintiff’s direct claims and denied interest on the conversion claim.
  • Because Plaintiff was a prevailing party on a derivative claim, he should have been awarded attorney fees related to that claim.
  • Practice tip: A plaintiff who complains of insufficient discovery as justification for a failure to prove damages should invoke Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) allowing a party to move for a continuance to conduct additional discovery.
  • Practice tip: A party may be considered a prevailing party when receiving a settlement instead of a judgment, because Utah Code section 48-3a-806(2) authorizes attorney fees if a derivative action is successful in whole or in part.  

Read the full court opinion