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Friends of Tuhaye, LLC v. Tuhaye Homeowners Association

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

March 29, 2018

FRIENDS OF TUHAYE, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, Plaintiff,
v.
TUHAYE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, a Utah non-profit organization, Defendant. And third party claims, claims in intervention, and cross claims.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING [105] MOTION FOR AWARD OF DAMAGES AND ADJUDICATION OF ATTORNEYS' FEES

          David Nuffer United States District Judge

          Defendant Tuhaye Homeowners Association (the “Association”) has filed a Motion for Award of Damages and Adjudication of Attorneys' Fees (the “Motion”).[1] The Motion seeks to set an amount of damages and attorneys' fees against plaintiff Friends of Tuhaye, LLC (“Friends”) on the Association's counterclaims following the decision to grant summary judgment in the Association's favor (the “MSJ Order”).[2] The Motion requires fact finding, and not just evaluation of undisputed facts like with a motion for summary judgment.[3] The parties met and conferred as directed, [4] and they have stipulated that the Motion can be decided “based upon the moving papers and exhibits, subject to the arguments and objections of counsel already in the stipulated record.”[5] The record for this Motion includes: the Motion, [6] Friends' opposition to the Motion, [7] the Association's reply, [8] and the sur-reply Friends filed with leave.[9] Based on the record for the Motion, and being fully advised of the parties' arguments regarding the amount of contract damages and attorneys' fees, the court makes the following findings:

         CONTRACT DAMAGES

         1. The Association prevailed against Friends on its claim for breach of contract based on undisputed material facts showing that Friends failed to abate nuisance conditions on its properties in violation of the Master Covenants.[10]

         2. The MSJ Order reserved a finding of the amount of damages on the contract claim pending proof.[11]

         3. With its Motion, the Association has limited its claim for damages resulting from the breach to two properties previously owned by Friends: Lot 15 and Lot 18.[12]

         4. The Association has submitted ledgers showing the costs of abatement assessed to Friends for Lot 15 and Lot 18 (the “Ledgers”).

         5. Friends was assessed $17, 822.50 for the Association's work on Lot 15.[13] Interest accrued on the unpaid invoice to a total of $31, 577.14.[14]

         6. Friends was assessed $15, 905.00 for the Association's work on Lot 18.[15] Interest accrued on the unpaid invoice to a total of $28, 194.18.[16]

         7. The assessments for the Association's work include the cost to the Association and the value provided to Friends for (a) laborer time; (b) heavy machinery use and maintenance; (c) screened fill dirt; and (d) legal fees for attempts to resolve the nuisance before taking action to abate the nuisance.[17]

         8. The Association carried its initial burden to prove the amount of its assessments. Friends has not presented evidence that the amounts charged are inconsistent with the cost to the Association.

         9. The Association charged interest at the rate of 18% annually on the unpaid assessments.[18] The interest rate was set by a Resolution of the Association's Board of Directors in 2008, prior to the assessments against Friends.[19]

         10. Friends does not challenge the interest rate asserted by the Association. Instead, Friends argues that no interest at all can be imposed because the Association never gave Friends any money.[20] This argument overlooks that interest can be, and often is, charged for unpaid obligations for services rendered. Interest at 18% will be included in the Association's damages.

         11. Friends is not prejudiced by the Association's failure to include the Ledgers in discovery disclosures because Friends was in possession of the documents. Friends received the ledgers, as well as periodic invoices, on multiple occasions in the course of the Association attempting to collect the unpaid assessments.[21]

         12. The Association is awarded $59, 771.32 in damages against Friends on the breach of contract claim, which includes $31, 577.14 for Lot 15 and $28, 194.18 for Lot 18.

         ATTORNEYS' FEES

         13. The Association prevailed on summary judgment on its claim for indemnification of ...


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