Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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Monitor Finance, L.C., and First Capital Funding, L.C., (collectively referred to as the Beneficiaries) were the holders of a deed of trust, which encumbered the real property claimed to be owned in fee simple by Wildlife Ridge Estates, LLC (Wildlife LLC). Prior to this judicial foreclosure action being brought, Wildlife LLC filed suit against the Beneficiaries seeking to quiet title to the real property. In that previous action, Wildlife LLC alleged that the Beneficiaries no longer retained an interest in the property because the debt underlying the promissory note had been paid in full. By stipulation of the parties, that quiet title action was ultimately dismissed with prejudice. Subsequently, the Beneficiaries initiated this action to foreclose the deed of trust based on their contention that the debt created by the promissory note had not been paid and was in default. The Beneficiaries moved the district court for summary judgment, contending that Wildlife LLC’s affirmative defenses and counterclaim were barred by res judicata because the previous quiet title action brought by Wildlife LLC had been dismissed on its merits. The district judge granted the Beneficiaries’ motion and denied Wildlife LLC’s motion to reconsider. In doing so, the district court summarily dismissed Wildlife LLC’s counterclaim and affirmative defenses. The district court ultimately entered summary judgment in favor of the Beneficiaries. Wildlife LLC appealed, claiming, among other things, that the district court misapplied the doctrine of res judicata. The Idaho Supreme Court diagreed, finding Wildlife LLC's affirmative defenses and counterclaim were correctly barred by res judicata. View "Monitor Finance v. Wildlife Ridge Estates" on Justia Law

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This case was brought by the North Idaho Building Contractors Association, Termac Construction, Inc., and other class members (collectively, “NIBCA”), to declare a sewer connection/capitalization fee the City of Hayden enacted in 2007 to be an impermissible tax. The action was originally dismissed on the City’s motion for summary judgment; but, on appeal the Idaho Supreme Court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded for further proceedings because the record did not contain sufficient evidence to establish that the 2007 Cap Fee complied with controlling Idaho statutes and case law. On remand, the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment and the district court found that the 2007 Cap Fee was an impermissible tax and taking of property without just compensation in violation of federal takings law. In doing so, the district court refused to consider expert evidence propounded by the City which opined that the 2007 Cap Fee complied with the applicable Idaho legal standards and was reasonable. The district court subsequently ruled on stipulated facts that NIBCA was entitled to damages in the amount paid above $774 per connection, together with interest, costs, and attorney fees. The City appealed the district court’s refusal to consider its evidence and NIBCA cross-appealed the award of damages. The Idaho Supreme Court again vacated the judgment because the district court improperly refused to consider the City’s evidence on remand. View "No ID Bldg Cont Assoc v. City of Hayden" on Justia Law

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Kiki Leslie Tidwell appealed an Idaho Public Utility Commission order denying her request for intervenor funding. The underlying administrative proceeding involved an application by the Idaho Power Company for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to construct a high-voltage electric transmission line in Blaine County. The Commission granted Tidwell’s petition to intervene in December 2016. In September 2017, Tidwell submitted a request for intervenor funding, which the Commission denied as untimely. Tidwell filed a petition for reconsideration, which the Commission also denied. Finding the Commission's denial of Tidwell's petition for reconsideration not "unreasonable, unlawful, erroneous or not in conformity with the law," the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Idaho Power and IPUC v. Tidwell" on Justia Law

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Jane Doe (“Mother”) appealed a magistrate court’s termination of her parental rights to her minor children, Jane Doe II (“T.T.”) and John Doe II (“D.T.”). The magistrate court found: (1) Mother had neglected her children; (2) Mother had abandoned her children; and (3) termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the best interest of the children. Because each of these findings was supported by clear and convincing evidence, the trial court granted Guardians’ request for termination. The trial court entered a final judgment to that effect on May 11, 2018. The Idaho Supreme Court determined: (1) Mother waived the issues of neglect and abandonment on appeal for failing to support them with argument; and (2) the trial court’s determination that termination was in the children’s best interests is supported by substantial, competent evidence. View "John and Jane Doe I v. Jane Doe" on Justia Law

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Nearly two years after their car was rear-ended by the Guthmillers, the Crawfords filed a complaint seeking to recover against the Guthmillers. In the six months following the filing of the complaint, the Crawfords attempted to effect service on the Guthmillers at the address the Crawfords found on various internet websites. On the last day of the six-month window to effect service of process, the Crawfords filed a motion seeking to extend the time to effect service for ninety days or to serve by publication. The district court determined the Crawfords had not shown good cause for failing to serve the Guthmillers within the allowed six-month time frame. Thus, the district court entered judgment dismissing the Crawfords’ claims without prejudice. The Crawfords timely appealed, but finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Crawford v. Guthmiller" on Justia Law

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A mother placed her twelve-year-old son in the care of his grandparents on a full time basis in August 2017. Three months later the father petitioned the magistrate court to modify custody to grant him residential custody of his son. Although both Mother and Grandparents petitioned the court to give Grandparents residential custody, the magistrate court, during a hearing on father’s motion for temporary custody, determined that Grandparents did not have standing. Ruling from the bench, the magistrate court determined that Idaho Code section 32-717(3) on its face violated the father’s constitutional rights because it placed Grandparents on the same footing as parents. The magistrate court also reasoned that the more specific time requirements set forth in the De Facto Custodian Act, Idaho Code sections 32-1701–32- 1705 governed. On a motion for reconsideration, the magistrate court, pursuant to Hernandez v. Hernandez, 265 P.3d 495 (2011), decided that Grandparents likely could not meet the requirements of Idaho Code section 32- 717(3), reasoning that “[t]he court doubts that a short period of residence pursuant to an impermanent permission by one parent is a ‘stable relationship.’” Mother and Grandparents appealed the magistrate court’s decision to the Idaho Supreme Court, arguing the magistrate court’s decision was contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision in Hernandez. The Supreme Court agreed and vacated the magistrate’s order denying standing. The Court remanded with instructions to determine whether Child was living with Grandparents at the time they petitioned the court and whether a stable relationship existed between them. If yes, the Grandparents should be allowed to participate in the custody determination within the boundaries set forth in Hernandez. View "Overholser (Taylor) v. Overholser" on Justia Law

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Victoria H. Smith was nearly 100 years old when she died on September 11, 2013. During her life she married Vernon K. Smith Sr., a lawyer who died of a heart attack in 1966. Victoria and Vernon Sr. accumulated substantial real estate and business interests during their lifetimes. More than twenty years before her death, Victoria prepared a holographic will. Her son Vernon Smith, Jr. was the only person present when Victoria signed the document. In 2012, Vernon formed a limited liability company, VHS Properties, LLC (“VHS” were Victoria’s initials). He named his mother and himself as the only members of the company. Vernon used a 2008 power of attorney to transfer all of Victoria’s real and personal property to VHS Properties. He signed the transfer document on behalf of Victoria, as her attorney in fact, and on behalf of VHS Properties, as a member. Vernon then used the 2008 power of attorney to execute a second document, by which he transferred to himself all of Victoria’s interest in VHS Properties. He once again signed the document on behalf of Victoria and also signed for himself. By the end of the day on July 4, 2012, Vernon had exclusive ownership and control of all of Victoria’s assets. A dispute arose among Victoria's children following her death and the probate of her estate. A magistrate court ruled Victoria died intestate after finding her will was the product of undue influence of Vernon, Jr. Vernon, Jr. appealed that ruling and an earlier, partial summary judgment ruling that invalidated a series of transactions that transferred Victoria's assets to the LLC. Finding no reversible error in the magistrate court's judgment, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Smith v. Smith" on Justia Law

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Val Westover filed this action seeking a declaration that the existence of the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (ICRMP) violated Idaho law. This litigation followed an earlier dispute between Westover and Jase Cundick, the Franklin County, Idaho Assessor. That dispute came before the Idaho Supreme Court in which Westover advanced claims for slander of title and intentional interference with existing or potential economic relations and sought writs of mandate and prohibition. After Westover voluntarily dismissed the slander of title and tortious interference claims, the district court denied his requests for extraordinary writs and dismissed the action. Westover appealed and the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court and declined to award attorney fees to either party. Westover then brought this action, seeking a declaration that ICRMP’s existence and relationship with county governments violates the directive in Idaho Code section 12-117(3) that attorney fees awarded against a state agency or political subdivision “shall be paid from funds in the regular operating budget . . . .” ICRMP moved for summary judgment, contending that Westover lacked standing to pursue his claim. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed dismissal of Westover’s declaratory judgment action. View "Westover v. Idaho Counties Risk Mgmt" on Justia Law

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Dale and Kathi Lee appealed a district court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of Willow Creek Ranch Estates No. 2 Subdivision Homeowners’ Association, Inc. (the HOA). The dispute between the Lees and the HOA centered on a 1997 agreement that purportedly granted the Lees three access points to a private road owned by the HOA. The Lees conceded in the district court that the Agreement alone did not create an enforceable easement. The Lees asserted, however, that an easement existed based on the doctrine of part performance or that an enforceable encumbrance existed through the doctrine of equitable servitudes. The district court determined that neither the doctrine of part performance nor the doctrine of equitable servitudes were applicable to this case and granted the HOA’s motion for summary judgment. Finding no error in the district court judgment, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Lee v. Willow Creek Ranch Est." on Justia Law

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Jane Doe (Doe) appealed a magistrate court order in which protective custody of Doe’s three nieces and three nephews was awarded to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (Department). Following an adjudicatory hearing, the magistrate court found the children fell within the jurisdiction of the Child Protective Act (CPA) based on neglect, homelessness, and an unstable home environment. Doe stipulated during the hearing that it was in the best interests of the children to vest their custody with the Department. Doe appealed, alleging that the judge erred in concluding the children were neglected and that the Department made reasonable efforts to prevent removal. Doe also contended her right to due process was violated because she was unable to conduct substantive discovery. Based on the reasons set out in this opinion, the Supreme Court concluded there was no justiciable controversy presented. As a result, the Court dismissed Doe’s appeal because the issues raised were moot. View "Idaho v. Jane Doe" on Justia Law