Articles Posted in Contracts

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The City of Idaho Falls (“Idaho Falls”) appealed an order dismissing its breach of contract and waste claims against H-K Contractors, Inc. (“H-K”). In 2005, H-K entered into a written contract requiring it to convey a parcel of property to Idaho Falls. The contract required that H-K initially grant Idaho Falls a storm drainage easement “over and across” the parcel. H-K was also required to convey fee title to the parcel at a future date, in no event later than March 1, 2010. H-K failed to convey the property to Idaho Falls as required. In 2016, Idaho Falls sent a letter to H-K requesting conveyance of title. H-K responded by refusing to convey title to the property, claiming that in 2009 a city official had orally informed H-K that Idaho Falls was no longer interested in the property. Based on that alleged representation, H-K decided to invest in the property to make it profitable. Idaho Falls filed a complaint against H-K for breach of contract and waste. H-K moved to dismiss the complaint based on the limitation found in Idaho Code section 5-216, alleging Idaho Falls’ claims were time barred because they were not brought within the five-year statute of limitations governing contract actions. Idaho Falls countered that the statute of limitations did not apply to it as a subdivision of the State of Idaho. On January 3, 2017, the district court dismissed Idaho Falls’ complaint as time barred. Idaho Falls timely appealed, claiming the district court erred in enforcing the five-year limitation set forth in section 5-216. The Idaho Supreme Court vacated the district court's judgment, finding it erred when it determined the term “state” in Idaho Code section 5- 216 did not include Idaho’s municipalities. Because Idaho Falls was the “state,” the district court erred when it found its contract claims against H-K were not “for the benefit of the state.” View "City of Idaho Falls v. H-K Contractors" on Justia Law

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Scott and Anne Davison appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of DeBest Plumbing (DeBest). In 2012, the Davisons hired Gould Custom Builders, Inc. (Gould) to perform an extensive remodel of their vacation home in Idaho. Gould hired DeBest as the plumbing subcontractor. A bathtub installed by DeBest developed a leak that caused significant damage before it was noticed and repaired. The Davisons sought damages based upon the contract between Gould and DeBest and for negligence. The district court granted DeBest’s motion for summary judgment on the contract claims because the Davisons were not in privity of contract with DeBest. Later, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of DeBest on the negligence claim, finding that the Davisons had failed to comply with the requirements of the Notice and Opportunity to Repair Act (NORA), Idaho Code sections 6-2501–2504. On appeal, the Davisons argued they satisfied the requirements of NORA because DeBest received actual notice of the claim and sent a representative to inspect the damage. Finding that the Davidsons satisfied the requirements of NORA when they gave DeBest actual notice, and DeBest had an opportunity to inspect the defect, the Idaho Supreme Court determined the district court erred in granting DeBest's motion for summary judgment on the Davidsons' negligence claim. The Supreme Court reversed as to negligence, but affirmed the district court in all other respects. View "Davison v. DeBest Plumbing" on Justia Law

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Budget Truck Sales, LLC, Brek A. Pilling, Brian L. Tibbets, and Mike Tilley (the “Budget Parties”) and Kent Tilley entered into various oral agreements relating to the purchase, repair and sale of large trucks and heavy equipment. Shortly thereafter, the relationship of the parties broke down, leading to the filing of three separate lawsuits. Budget Truck Sales, LLC filed a lawsuit against Tilley, alleging that Tilley owed it money on an open account for loans it had provided to Tilley. Tilley filed a lawsuit against Brek Pilling and Brian Tibbits, alleging they personally owed him for his share of the profits. Trial started for the consolidated cases on December 13, 2016. By the second day of trial, the parties engaged in settlement negotiations to resolve each of the cases. Once a resolution was reached, the parties recited the terms of their agreement on the record in open court. In accordance with the settlement agreement, a loader was delivered to the Budget Truck Sales’ lot. Because the loader’s condition was not as Tilley had allegedly represented, the Budget Parties refused to pay Tilley the $100,000 that was due the following day. Tilley’s attorney advised that if the $100,000 payment was not received the next day a motion to enforce the settlement agreement would be filed, and Tilley would seek an award of attorney fees. Tilley’s counsel was notified the Budget Parties would not honor the agreement because they believed Tilley had misrepresented the condition of the loader, and the Budget Parties relied upon that representation when they agreed to the settlement. The parties appealed enforcement of the settlement agreement; the Budget Parties alleged the settlement agreement was void because it was procured by fraud. The Idaho Supreme Court concluded material questions of fact existed upon which the district court could rely in finding that Tilley committed fraud in the inducement by allegedly representing to the Budget Parties the loader was in “great working condition.” Accordingly, the judgment was vacated and the case was remanded for an evidentiary hearing on the Budget Parties’ claim of fraud in the inducement. If such fraud occurred, the entire settlement was vitiated and the parties are placed back in the position they were in before the case was purportedly settled. View "Budget Truck Sales v. Tilley" on Justia Law

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Justin Vigos appealed a district court’s decision to reverse a magistrate court’s order granting his motion for summary judgment against MFG Financial, Inc. (MFG). MFG initiated this action to recover damages from a breach of contract. In 2007, Vigos purchased a vehicle from Karl Malone Toyota. The contract was assigned to Courtesy Auto Credit (Courtesy). After some time, Vigos defaulted on the contract and the vehicle was repossessed and sold at auction. Courtesy then allegedly assigned the contract to MFG who initiated this action in 2015. After discovery, the parties each filed a motion for summary judgment. The magistrate court granted Vigos’s motion for summary judgment, finding that MFG had not presented sufficient admissible evidence to show that it was a real party in interest. MFG appealed and the district court reversed the decision of the magistrate court. Vigos appealed, arguing that the district court applied the wrong standard when it failed to first determine if evidence was admissible before considering it for purposes of summary judgment. MFG cross appealed, arguing that the district court erred when it failed to award it attorney fees on appeal. Finding no reversible error in the district court’s judgment, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "MFG Financial Inc. v. Vigos" on Justia Law

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Lincoln Land Company, LLC (“Lincoln Land”) appealed a district court’s judgment which dismissed Lincoln Land’s complaint. LP Broadband cross-appeals the district court’s denial of LP Broadband’s motion for attorney fees. The dispute arose over LP Broadband’s placement and use of antenna equipment on the rooftop of a grain silo owned by Lincoln Land, but leased to General Mills. General Mills had allowed MicroServ Computer Technologies, Inc., (“MicroServ”) (which merged with LP Broadband in 2013) to utilize the rooftop space on the property since March 2000, in exchange for $50 per month. Lincoln Land subsequently purchased the grain silos and, in 2010, executed a lease agreement with General Mills, which specifically prohibited a sublease of the property without prior written consent from Lincoln Land. Notwithstanding the lease provision, General Mills continued to sublease the rooftop space to LP Broadband. Upon discovering that LP Broadband was using the rooftop space, Lincoln Land filed a complaint against LP Broadband for unjust enrichment. Therein, Lincoln Land argued that it had conferred a benefit to LP Broadband and that it would be inequitable for LP Broadband to retain such a benefit without compensating Lincoln Land. The district court dismissed the complaint after concluding that Lincoln Land failed to establish that it, not General Mills, had conferred the benefit to LP Broadband. Finding no reversible error in the district court judgment, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Lincoln Land Co v. LP Broadband" on Justia Law

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This case arose from an employment agreement between Allen Nettleton and Canyon Outdoor Media, LLC (“Canyon Outdoor”). The parties disagreed with respect to Nettleton’s entitlement to commission wages following his resignation. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Nettleton and denied Canyon Outdoor’s motion for summary judgment and motion for reconsideration of the rulings on summary judgment. Canyon Outdoor argued the district court erred in granting Nettleton’s motion for summary judgment: (1) because the parties did not agree to a term in the employment agreement that covers post-separation compensation; (2) because the Snake River Dental contract did not establish a “course of dealing”; and (3) because Nettleton was required to service client accounts to be entitled to commission wages. Among these, the third argument was essentially a dispositive issue in the summary judgment rulings at the district court. For these reasons, Canyon Outdoor contended the district court improperly applied the relevant standard of review in reaching its conclusion that a servicing requirement did not exist under the employment agreement. The Idaho Supreme Court agreed with Canyon Outdoor and found the judgment in favor of Nettleton had to be vacated. View "Nettleton v. Canyon Outdoor Media" on Justia Law

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This was an insurance bad faith case arising out of a claim for underinsured motorist coverage. In May 2008, Peggy Cedillo was injured in a collision while riding as a passenger on the back of a motorcycle. About a year after the collision, she settled her claim against the motorcycle driver for $105,000, the total amount available under his insurance policy. Cedillo married the motorcycle driver about eight months after the collision, and he was her lawyer in this lawsuit and designated as one of her experts. Cedillo claimed the district court erred when it: (1) granted summary judgment in favor of Farmers on her bad faith claim; (2) denied discovery of the entirety of Farmers’ claims file and certain electronic information; and (3) denied a motion to amend her complaint to include a claim for punitive damages. The Idaho Supreme Court, after review of the terms of the insurance contract and the district court record, affirmed the grant of summary judgment on Farmers’ motion relating to the bad faith claim: “General conclusions about Farmer’s conduct do not provide the facts needed to overcome summary judgment on the ‘fairly debatable’ element. Thus, the district court did not err in granting Farmers’ motion for summary judgment.” View "Cedillo v. Farmers Ins. Co. of Idaho" on Justia Law

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This case arose out of Richard Gomez’s breach of a real estate agreement for the sale and purchase of residential real estate from Todd Phillips in his capacity as Trustee of Trust “A” of the Elliott Family Trust. Phillips appeals a district court’s denial of Phillips’s request to recover actual damages. After a bench trial, the district court held that Phillips’s claim for breach of contract had been fully satisfied by Phillips’s retention of the non-refundable earnest money as liquidated damages as provided by the agreement. Finding no reversible error in that judgment, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Phillips v. Gomez" on Justia Law

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The issue this case presented for the Idaho Supreme Court’s review centered on a judgment dismissing claims against an attorney and a law firm that he later joined based upon an opinion letter issued by the attorney in his capacity as corporate counsel regarding the legality of a stock redemption agreement. The Appellant challenged the grant of summary judgment to the Respondents (attorney and law firm) and the amount of attorney fees awarded to them. After review, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment dismissing the claims and the awards of attorney fees, and awarded attorney fees on appeal. View "Taylor v. Riley" on Justia Law

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This case involved Arthur Watkins’ (Father) attempt to recover damages based on a default by his son, Arnold Douglas Watkins (Son or Doug), under a real estate installment contract. The question presented for the Idaho Supreme Court’s review was whether the complaint gave adequate notice of the election to accelerate the debt as required by Washington law. Son also brought a counterclaim for breach of a compensation agreement executed by a sibling acting on behalf of Father using a power of attorney. The compensation agreement purported to obligate Father to pay Son $3,000 per month for life. Father argued that the compensation agreement lacked consideration. The district court held a bench trial and ultimately found in favor of Father on his breach of contract claim and on the counterclaim brought against him. Son appealed. The Supreme Court found that the district court: (1) erred in concluding Father was not required to give notice of the acceleration; and (2) was correct in concluding the compensation agreement was unenforceable for lack of consideration. View "Watkins v. Watkins" on Justia Law