A.K. & R. Whipple Plumbing & Heating v. Aspen Construction

In A.K. & R. Whipple Plumbing & Heating v. Aspen Construction, 2004 UT 47, PP 25-26, 94 P.3d 270, plaintiff Whipple filed a lien for $ 30,641, with defendant Aspen claiming an offset of $ 25,000 for Whipple's allegedly negligent work. Id. The trial court awarded Aspen $ 7000 in offsets and, "after calculating the consequences of the parties' respective wins and losses on their competing claims, . . . awarded a net judgment to Aspen in the amount of $ 527." Id. Employing the "flexible and reasoned approach" first outlined in Mountain States Broadcasting Co. v. Neale, 783 P.2d 551, 556-57 (Utah Ct. App. 1989) (mem. decision on pet. for reh'g), the trial court found that, where one party received such a small net recovery, the case was essentially a "draw," so neither party could be considered "successful" for purposes of section 38-1-18(1). The Court upheld both the trial court's use of the flexible and reasoned approach and its specific finding that there was no successful party. Id.