Articles Posted in Contracts

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Appellant Jennifer Eastman sought a declaratory judgment that she was entitled to underinsured motorist insurance coverage (“UIM coverage”) under her auto insurance policy (the “Policy”) with Respondent Farmers Insurance Company (“Farmers”). Eastman was involved in a motor vehicle accident while traveling in a van operated by the Spokane Transit Authority (“STA”). Eastman sustained injuries as a result of the accident. Both the at-fault driver and STA held insurance policies. Eastman collected $50,000 from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Additionally, Eastman collected $48,846 in UIM coverage from STA’s insurance policy. Eastman’s special damages from the accident exceeded the amount that she collected from the two insurance policies. Eastman thereafter filed a claim with her insurer, Farmers, in an attempt to collect her own UIM coverage under the Policy. Specifically, Eastman sought her UIM coverage limit ($500,000) minus the $98,846 that she had already collected from the other insurance policies. Farmers denied Eastman’s claim based on an exclusion within the Policy which eliminated UIM coverage in situations where the insured was riding in another vehicle that had UIM coverage. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Farmers, ruling that an exclusion contained in the Policy precluded UIM coverage for Eastman’s injuries. Finding that the clause in Eastman's policy violated Idaho's public policy, the Idaho Supreme Court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded this case with direction to invalidate the insurance exclusion at issue here. View "Eastman v. Farmers Insurance" on Justia Law

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This appeal involved an Idaho district court’s denial of a jury trial under Rule 39(b) of the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure and the decision to pierce the corporate veil. The dispute stemmed from a transaction between Kym Nelson, who acted on behalf of KDN Management Inc., (“KDN”), and WinCo, Foods, LLC (“WinCo”), for concrete floor work that KDN performed in several WinCo stores. The district court found that KDN had overcharged WinCo for the work, and awarded WinCo $2,929,383.31 in damages, including attorney fees. The district court also held Nelson and two entities associated with her, SealSource International, LLC, and KD3 Flooring LLC, jointly and severally liable for WinCo’s damages. Nelson, SealSource and KD3 argued on appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court that the trial court erred in concluding: (1) Nelson was personally liable for damages relating to this dispute; and (2) that KDN, SealSource and KD3 were alter egos of one another. Nelson and the corporate co-defendants also argued the district court abused its discretion by denying their motion for a jury trial under Rule of Civil Procedure 39(b). Finding no reversible error in the district court’s judgment, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the judgment and award of attorney fees to WinCo. View "KDN Management, Inc. v. WinCo" on Justia Law

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Donna Taylor appealed a district court’s judgment regarding her Series A Preferred Shares in AIA Services Corporation (AIA). In 1987, Donna received 200,000 Series A Preferred Shares in AIA as part of a divorce settlement. Between 1987 and 1996, Donna, AIA, and other relevant parties entered into various stock redemption agreements with differing terms and interest rates. One such agreement was challenged in Taylor v. AIA Servs. Corp., 261 P.3d 829 (2011). While the Taylor case was being litigated, AIA stopped paying Donna for the redemption of her shares, prompting her to file suit. Donna alleged several causes of action against AIA, with the primary issue being whether Donna was entitled to have her shares redeemed at the prime lending rate plus one-quarter percent. AIA contended any agreement providing that interest rate was unenforceable, and instead Donna’s redemption was governed by AIA’s amended articles of incorporation, which provided the interest rate as the prime lending rate minus one-half percent. The district court determined Donna’s share redemption was governed by AIA’s amended articles of incorporation, and as such, all but 7,110 of Donna’s shares had been redeemed. After review, the Idaho Supreme Court reversed the district court’s dismissal of Donna’s breach of contract claim as it related to a 1995 Letter Agreement, and remanded for further proceedings. The Supreme Court also reverse the district court’s dismissal of Donna’s fraud claims. The Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Donna’s unjust enrichment claim, and the dismissal of AIA’s counterclaim against Donna. View "Taylor v. Taylor" on Justia Law

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In January 2017, a jury found that an enforceable contract bound Mike Von Jones to pay Safaris Unlimited, LLC, (Safaris) $26,040 for a 2012 big game hunt Jones went on in Zimbabwe, Africa (2012 hunt). After the jury’s verdict, Safaris was awarded attorney fees plus interest on the judgment, bringing the judgment against Jones to $122,984.82. Safaris obtained a writ of execution in June 2017 and attended the sheriff sale as the only bidder. At the sale, Safaris purchased a pending lawsuit arising from Jones’s business venture by making a $2,500 credit bid. Jones was later successful in moving to vacate the sale. Jones appealed three issues from the jury trial: (1) the admission of a handwriting exemplar; (2) certain statements made by the district court concerning the handwriting exemplar; and (3) a jury instruction on agency law. Safaris cross appealed the district court’s decision to vacate the sheriff sale. After review, the Idaho Supreme Court determined: (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the handwriting exemplar; (2) the district court did not violate Jones’s procedural due process rights by instructing Jones to answer whether he signed a particular document after viewing the exemplar; and (3) the Court did not reach the merits of Jones’s argument that the district court erred by giving jury instruction 13 since Jones failed to object to the instruction below. Thus, the Court affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Safaris Unlimited v. Jones" on Justia Law

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Thomas Lunneborg claimed he was entitled to $60,000 severance because he was terminated without cause. Lunneborg was hired to be Chief Operating Officer (COO) of My Fun Life Corporation (MFL) on April 16, 2014. Lunneborg was terminated on July 29, 2014, ostensibly for cause. Lunneborg brought this action seeking his severance pay pursuant to the employment contract. After a bench trial, the district court found MFL did not have cause to terminate Lunneborg. Therefore, Lunneborg was awarded $60,000 in damages, which was trebled to $180,000 under the Idaho Wage Claims Act. Lunneborg was also awarded attorney fees. The court also pierced MFL’s corporate veil and found that Lunneborg’s judgment could be collected against MFL’s sole shareholder, Dan Edwards (Edwards), and against Edwards’ wife, Carrie Edwards (Carrie), personally. MFL, Edwards, and Carrie appealed, contending that the trial court erred by: (1) failing to uphold Edwards’ determination that Lunneborg was fired for cause; (2) piercing the corporate veil; and (3) abusing its discretion in the amount of attorney fees it awarded to Lunneborg. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Lunneborg v. My Fun Life" on Justia Law

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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