Articles Posted in Business Law

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Plainitffs appealed when their claims against a person who sold a steer for slaughter were dismissed. The steer was later found to be contaminated with E. coli bacteria. Patty Anderson agreed to sell a 4-H steer for her eighteen-year-old granddaughter. Joseph Deiter purchased one-half of the steer. Anderson contacted Donald Janak, who owned a mobile slaughtering business. He was asked to slaughter the steer for Deiter, and to deliver the carcass to Don’s Meats, which was a custom meat processing business that was owned and operated by Donald and Sharon Coons and their daughter Penny Coons. Janak slaughtered and skinned the steer, cut the carcass in half down the middle, and delivered the two halves of the carcass to Don’s Meats, where the meat was processed. After eating the meat, the members of the Deiter family became ill due to becoming infected with E. coli bacteria. The Deiters filed suit against Anderson, Janak and his corporation, and the Coonses. Anderson successfully moved for summary judgment as to the claims against her. The Coonses also successfully moved for summary judgment. The Deiters settled with Janak, and they appealed the judgment in favor of Anderson and the Coonses. The Deiters argued to the district court that Anderson and the Coonses violated the Federal Meat Inspection Act because she sold or offered for sale, in commerce, articles which were capable for use as human food and which were adulterated at the time of the sale or offer for sale as proscribed by 21 U.S.C. 610(c). Finding that the Deiters did not show any genuine issue of material fact with respect to the grant of summary judgment to Anderson or the Coonses, the Supreme Court affirmed dismissal of claims against those parties. View "Deiter v. Coons" on Justia Law

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American Semiconductor, Inc. sued to recover damages arising out of Zilog, Inc., contracting with Sage Silicon Solutions, LLC, to perform engineering services for it, where that entity was formed by, and the services were provided by, employees of American Semiconductor, Inc. American Semiconductor, Inc., obtained a jury verdict awarding damages against the engineers and the entity they had formed, but it did not recover against Zilog, Inc. American Semiconductor, Inc., appealed, challenging the dismissal of one of its claims against Zilog, Inc., and seeking a new trial on damages against the engineers and their entity. The Supreme Court found no reversible error and affirmed the district court judgment. View "American Semiconductor v. Sage Silicon Solutions" on Justia Law

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In 2014, seventeen-year-old plaintiff Seth Griffith was seriously injured when he attempted a triple front flip into a pit filled with foam blocks at an indoor trampoline park owned and operated by JumpTime Meridian, LLC (“JumpTime”). Plaintiff’s girlfriend and her sister were near the large foam pit. Plaintiff jumped into the large foam pit a few times. He spent about 45 minutes “kind of horsing around on both the runway trampoline and the foam pit and the twin trampolines.” After he did a double front flip into the small foam pit, the monitor came up to him and asked if he had ever done a double before. He answered that he had. As he continued performing double front flips into the small foam pit, he decided to try a triple front flip. When he attempted it, he did not rotate far enough and landed on his head and neck, suffering a cervical dislocation and fracture, which required a fusion of his C6 and C7 vertebrae. Plaintiff filed this action alleging that JumpTime negligently caused his injury. He contended that because he was under the age of eighteen, JumpTime had a duty to supervise him. He had been intentionally landing the double front flips on his back in the pit. He testified that he did so “because you don’t want to land on your feet because you can bash your head against your knees.” JumpTime’s written policy manual instructed its employees with respect to the foam pit to “[f]ollow the rules outlined on the wall and continuously enforce it.” There were signs on the walls near the two pits that instructed customers to land on their feet. JumpTime moved for summary judgment alleging that there was no negligence, based upon the opinion of an expert that industry standards permitted landing a front flip into a foam pit on one’s feet, buttocks, or back, and that there was no evidence of causation. In response, Plaintiff contended that the signs on the wall stating how to land in the foam pit established the standard of care and that because of the attendant’s failure to admonish him for landing incorrectly, he was not discouraged from attempting a more difficult maneuver like a triple front flip. The district court granted JumpTime’s motion for summary judgment, holding that Plaintiff had failed to produce evidence of negligence and causation. Plaintiff then timely appealed. Finding that Plaintiff’s testimony did not support an inference that JumpTime was in any way responsible for his decision to try the triple front flip, the district court did not err in granting summary judgment to JumpTime based upon the lack of evidence regarding causation. View "Griffith v. JumpTime Meridian, LLC" on Justia Law

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Gordon Paving Company, Inc., Northwest Sand & Gravel, Inc., Blackrock Land Holdings, LLC (collectively, “Gordon Paving”), Brandon Hansen, an individual, Brian Hansen, an individual, Carol Hansen GPC Nevada Trust, Craig Hansen GPC Nevada Trust, Canyon Equipment and Truck Service, Inc., and Doe Entities owned by Brian, Brandon, and Craig Hansen (collectively “Guarantors”) appealed the district court’s denial of their motion to set aside default in a breach of personal guarantee action brought by AgStar Financial Services, ACA (“AgStar”). Between 2007 and 2008, Gordon Paving borrowed $10 million from AgStar. In addition to real and personal property collateral, the indebtedness was secured by separate guarantee agreements executed by Guarantors. By 2012, Gordon Paving had defaulted and AgStar sued for foreclosure. A year later, the district court entered a Judgment and Decree of Foreclosure against Gordon Paving. AgStar purchased the real property collateral at a foreclosure sale. AgStar moved for entry of a deficiency judgment for the difference between the unpaid judgment as of the time of the sale and its credit bids for the real property. The district court denied AgStar’s motion for a deficiency judgment, finding that the reasonable value of the properties that AgStar purchased by credit bids was nearly two million dollars greater than Gordon Paving’s indebtedness. In an Opinion issued in early 2017, the Idaho Supreme Court held that Gordon Paving’s indebtedness to AgStar had been fully satisfied and discharged. AgStar brought the present action against Guarantors, bringing a number of theories, including breach of personal guarantee. The district court ultimately entered a judgment against Guarantors on the cause of action based on breach of their personal guarantees. AgStar agreed to dismiss the other claims with prejudice because the judgment on the guarantees represented the total remaining amount due on Gordon Paving’s indebtedness. AgStar moved for an award of attorney fees and costs, which was granted. Guarantors timely appealed, but finding no error in defaulting the Guarantors, and in the award of fees and costs, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Agstar Financial v. Gordon Paving Co, Inc." on Justia Law

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North Idaho Resorts (NIR) appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Union Bank, N.A. (Union Bank) in a mortgage priority dispute. The district court held that NIR did not possess a vendor’s lien because NIR was not the owner of record and that any lien NIR might have possessed had no value. The district court further held that if NIR possessed a valid lien, NIR released any such lien as part of a recorded agreement and that Union Bank was a good faith encumbrancer with no actual or constructive knowledge of the lien. On appeal, NIR argued: (1) the district court misconstrued Idaho Code section 45-801 and that the statute did not require the seller to be the owner of record; (2) the remaining conditional purchase price constituted an unpaid and unsecured value; (3) Union Bank knew NIR was still owed money under the contract; and (4) Union Bank did not qualify as a good faith encumbrancer. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment. View "Union Bank, N.A. v. North Idaho Resorts" on Justia Law

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JV, LLC (JV) appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Union Bank, N.A. (Union Bank) in a mortgage priority dispute. Union Bank sought to foreclose a mortgage on a property known as “Trestle Creek.” JV claimed priority to the Trestle Creek property through a mortgage recorded June 19, 2006. Union Bank’s mortgage was recorded March 25, 2008. Union Bank moved for summary judgment, arguing that JV had subordinated its lien to that of Union Bank. The district court agreed and granted the motion. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment. View "Union Bank, N.A. v. JV L.L.C" on Justia Law

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Appellants The Source Store LLC (“Source 1”), The Source LLC (“Source 2”), Michael L. Hodge (“Hodge”), George M. Brown (“Brown”), and Christopher Claiborne (“Claiborne”) appealed the district court’s order denying their Joint Motion to Dismiss, by which they sought to dismiss the derivative claims brought by respondents Donnelly Prehn and Dwight Bandak on behalf of Source 1. The Supreme Court did not reverse the district court’s decision not to hear Appellants’ Joint Motion to Dismiss. Further, the Court affirmed the district court’s finding that Hodge breached his fiduciary duty to Source 1 and its members. Specifically, the Court affirmed the district court’s awards related to the following: (1) Hodge’s breach of his fiduciary duty as to the management of the asset auction; (2) Hodge’s breach of his fiduciary duty related to his failure to minimize expenses during dissolution; (3) Prehn’s entitlement to back salary and reimbursement for the loan; and (4) the unjust enrichment of Hodge and Source 2. The Court affirmed the district court’s award of attorney’s fees. View "Prehn v. Hodge" on Justia Law

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The issue this case presented for the Supreme Court's review was a contract dispute between Silver Creek Seed, LLC and Sunrain Varieties, LLC, arising from the development of Bacterial Ring Rot (“BRR”) in two of the potato varieties grown by Silver Creek for Sunrain. After a four-day trial, the jury returned a verdict awarding damages to Silver Creek. Sunrain appealed: (1) the district court’s denial of a motion to reconsider an order granting partial summary judgment to Silver Creek; (2) the exclusion of the back side of the Idaho Crop Improvement Association (“ICIA”) blue tag from evidence; (3) the admission of testimony relating to the source of the BRR; (4) alleged errors in jury instructions; (5) the award of prejudgment interest to Silver Creek and (6) the award of attorney fees and costs to Silver Creek. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Silver Creek Seed v. Sunrain Varieties" on Justia Law

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Appellants DOT Compliance Service (“DOT Compliance”), Jeff Minert, David Minert, and Ryan Bunnell appealed a jury verdict finding that DOT Compliance and Bunnell tortiously interfered with Respondent Drug Testing Compliance Group, LLC’s (“DTC Group’s”) customer contracts and that Jeff and David Minert violated the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by disparaging DTC Group in violation of a settlement agreement entered into by the parties. DTC Group brought this suit alleging that DOT Compliance, through its owners and employees was calling DTC Group’s customers, asking them to cancel their service, and making disparaging comments about DTC Group. after careful consideration of the trial court record, the Supreme Court found that the trial court erred: (1) in denying Appellants' motion for a directed verdict on the tortious interference with contract claim; and (2) in denying Appellants' motion for JNOV on the breach of implied good faith and fair dealing claim against Jeff and David Minert. The trial court judgment was reversed and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "Drug Testing Compliance Grp v. DOT Compliance Service" on Justia Law

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Kenneth and Sally Eyer and Idaho Forest Group, LLC (IFG) entered into a Log Purchase Agreement in which IFG agreed to purchase timber harvested from the Eyers’ land. Before logging, IFG sent an agent to the Eyers’ property to assist them in locating property lines. When the logging occurred, the loggers mistakenly cut timber located on neighboring land. The neighbors sued the Eyers for timber trespass and the Eyers brought a third-party action against IFG for breach of an assumed duty to properly mark the property lines. A jury found in favor of IFG, finding that IFG had not assumed a duty to the Eyers. The district court then awarded IFG $95,608 in attorney fees. On appeal, the Eyers argued the district court erred in awarding fees under Idaho Code section 12-120(3), contending: (1) the gravamen of the Eyers’ complaint was not a commercial transaction; and (2) the Eyers did not sell timber for a “commercial purpose” since they used the proceeds of the sale to pay medical bills. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Eyer v. Idaho Forest Group" on Justia Law