Utah has expressly adopted the economic loss rule.
See SME Indus., Inc. v. Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates, Inc., 2001 UT 54, ¶ 32, 28 P.3d 669 modified, Sunridge Dev. Corp. v. RB & G Eng’g, Inc., 2010 UT 6, 230 P.3d 1000.
Under the economic loss rule, a party suffering only economic loss from the breach of an express or implied contractual duty may not assert a tort claim for such a breach absent an independent duty of care under tort law. Id.
In English, that means that when, say, a home buyer contracts with a builder to build a home, the home buyer’s rights to sue the builder for construction defects with the home are defined by the contract. A home buyer would not be able to bring a negligence claim against the builder, rather, the home buyer would need to bring a breach of contract claim and allege that the sub-par construction breached the home building contract.
That said, there are exceptions to the economic loss rule. One of which being for home builders. The court in W. v. Inter-Fin., Inc., 2006 UT App 222, ¶ 12, 139 P.3d 1059, 1063, noted that an exception to the economic loss rule exists if an independent duty of care exists. That is to say, special relationships like attorney-client, patient-physician, or home builder-buyer, create a duty independent of the contract that may be breached.
So in the home builder example above, a home buyer would be able to sue the builder for negligence because courts have found that home builders owe a special duty of care to home buyers. E.g. Davencourt at Pilgrims Landing Homeowners Ass’n v. Davencourt at Pilgrims Landing, LC, 2009 UT 65, 221 P.3d 234. However, the independent duty exception should not be relied on. The general rule is that when parties enter into a contract, cases arising out of what was contracted for are confined to contract actions.