United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER ORDER GRANTING IN PART
AND DENYING IN PART MOTIONS FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES
N. PARRISH UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
matter comes before the court on motions for attorney's
fees filed by defendants Raymond Weller (ECF No. 233) and
David Odenath (ECF No. 235). For the reasons below, those
motions are granted in part and denied in part.
instant fee requests emanate from an action asserting RICO
claims alongside an array of state law causes of action
against more than a dozen individual and corporate
defendants, including Messrs. Weller and Odenath. The
defendants each moved to dismiss the RICO claims under Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The court
dismissed the federal RICO claims and, having dismissed the
only claim giving rise to subject-matter jurisdiction at a
preliminary stage of the case, declined to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law
claims. (ECF No. 215).
Weller and Odenath subsequently moved for an
award of attorney's fees, relying on Utah's RICO
analogue, the Utah Pattern of Unlawful Activity Act (the
“UPUAA”), which- contrary to its federal
counterpart-contains an exceedingly broad fee-shifting
provision. See Utah Code § 76-10-1605.
The Court Has Jurisdiction to Award Attorney's Fees Under
Plaintiffs first argue that, having dismissed the UPUAA claim
by declining to exercise supplemental subject-matter
jurisdiction thereon, this court has no power to award
attorney's fees incurred in defending that claim. But a
review of relevant precedent refutes this argument.
is well established that a federal court may consider
collateral issues after an action is no longer
pending.” Cooter & Gell v. Hartmarx Corp.,
496 U.S. 384, 395 (1990). Pursuant to this principle, the
Tenth Circuit has held that “a district court may still
award attorney's fees after dismissing the underlying
action for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction . . . because
a claim for attorney's fees gives rise to issues separate
and distinct from the merits of the original cause of
action.” D.A. Osguthorpe Family P'ship v. ASC
Utah, Inc., 705 F.3d 1223, 1236 (10th Cir. 2013)
(internal citation omitted). And this proposition holds when
a state statute forms the basis for attorney's fees.
See Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Engida, 611 F.3d 1209,
1217 (10th Cir. 2010) (“[A] district court need not
have subject matter jurisdiction to award attorney's fees
pursuant to [Colorado law].”).
as part of its jurisdiction to “consider collateral
issues after an action is no longer pending, ” the
court may award attorney's fees flowing from the
dismissal of the UPUAA claim.
Messrs. Weller and Odenath are Entitled to Attorney's
Fees under the UPUAA
UPUAA contains a sweeping fee-shifting provision:
If an action, claim, or counterclaim brought or asserted by a
private party under this section is dismissed prior to
trial or disposed of on summary judgment, or if it is
determined at trial that there is no liability, the
prevailing party shall recover from the party who brought the
action or asserted the claim or counterclaim the amount of
its reasonable expenses incurred because of the defense
against the action, claim, or counterclaim, including a
reasonable attorney's fee.
Utah Code § 76-10-1605(8) (emphasis added). Thus, the
UPUAA mandates the award of reasonable expenses, including a
reasonable attorney's fee, incurred “because of the
defense against” a UPUAA claim, when such ...