Articles Posted in Idaho Supreme Court - Civil

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House Bill No. 67 passed the Idaho State House on February 2, 2017, and it was transmitted to the Senate. The bill was amended twice in the Senate, and it passed the Senate, as amended, on March 22, 2017, and was returned to the House. As amended by the Senate, the bill passed the House on March 27, 2017. The bill exempted from the state sales tax the sale of food, as defined in the bill, sold for human consumption. The Governor vetoed the bill and delivered it to the Secretary of State on April 11, 2017. Because of the veto, the Secretary of State thereafter refused to certify House Bill No. 67 as law. This case was brought in the Idaho Supreme Court’s original action seeking a writ of mandamus compelling the Secretary of State to certify 2017 House Bill No. 67 as law because the Governor did not veto the bill and return it to the Secretary of State within ten days (excluding Sundays) after the legislature adjourned. The Supreme Court overruled Cenarrusa v. Andrus, 582 P.2d 1082 (1978), but held that all parties were misconstruing Article IV, section 10, of the Idaho Constitution, and denied the writ of mandate. View "Nate v. Denney" on Justia Law

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Shawn Bailey sued several parties, including Peritus I Assets Management, LLC (Peritus), for claims allegedly arising out of his employment at American Medical File, Inc. (AMF), doing business as OnFile. Bailey alleged claims for breach of his employment contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Peritus moved to dismiss Bailey’s claim for intentional infliction of and the district court granted the motion on the basis that Bailey had not alleged conduct that was extreme and outrageous. Peritus thereafter moved for summary judgment on Bailey’s breach of contract claim, contending the statute of frauds rendered it unenforceable. In response, Bailey moved to amend his complaint in an effort to bypass the statute of frauds. The district court denied Bailey leave to amend and granted Peritus summary judgment, finding the statute of frauds dispositive. Bailey appealed the denial of leave to amend and grant of summary judgment in favor of Peritus. The Idaho Supreme Court found the district court erred by finding the statute of frauds barred Bailey’s breach of contract claim against Peritus, “[Bailey’s] lone allegation does not vitiate the thrust of Bailey’s complaint to somehow change this case from one alleging principal liability to one alleging collateral liability.” The Court’s conclusion that the statute of frauds did not apply to Bailey’s claim for breach of contract against Peritus as alleged in his initial complaint mooted any need for Bailey to allege statute of frauds exceptions, and the Supreme Court did not address that issue. View "Bailey v. Peritus I Assets Management" on Justia Law

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Perry Krinitt, Sr. appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the State of Idaho and the Department of Fish and Game (IDFG). Perry Krinitt, Jr. (“Perry”) was a pilot for Leading Edge Aviation. He died when the helicopter he was piloting crashed in Kamiah, Idaho. Perry was flying IDFG employees Larry Bennett and Danielle Schiff to conduct a fish survey on the Selway River. Bennett and Schiff also died in the crash. An investigation revealed that the accident was caused when a clipboard struck the tail rotor: one of the passengers became sick and opened the helicopter door, dropping the clipboard in the process. Krinitt filed a wrongful death suit based in negligence seeking damages against IDFG for Perry’s death. IDFG did not assert statutory immunity under Idaho’s Worker’s Compensation Act as a defense. IDFG moved for summary judgment on grounds that Krinitt could not prove negligence. The district court ruled that IDFG was a statutory employer under the Idaho Worker’s Compensation Act and, consequently, IDFG was entitled to immunity from actions based on the work-related death of Perry. Krinitt appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Krinitt v. Idaho Dept of Fish & Game" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose out of an agent contract dispute between Bret Kunz (“Bret”) and Nield, Inc. (“N.I.”) authorizing Bret to sell insurance on behalf of N.I. N.I. is owned by two brothers, Bryan Nield (“Bryan”) and Benjamin Nield. A dispute arose concerning the method and type of compensation available to Bret under the Contract. Bret filed a complaint seeking, inter alia, a declaratory judgment interpreting the Contract. The district court held the 2009 Contract did not provide for profit sharing as Bret claimed. Bret and his wife, Marti, (collectively, the “Kunzes”) appealed. Finding no reversible errors with respect to how the district court interpreted the Contract, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Kunz v. Nield, Inc." on Justia Law

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Claimant-appellant Penny Weymiller, a former employee of Lockheed Idaho Technologies (“Lockheed”), appealed the Idaho Industrial Commission’s order that she was not entitled to additional medical care in relation to her bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome (“CTS”). The Idaho Supreme Court determined the Commission erred in holding that Weymiller failed to prove her entitlement to additional care because the Court determined the decision was not supported by substantial and competent evidence. “[T]he Commission’s failure to consider palliative care in the form of wrist braces as treatment is contrary to our holding in Rish [v. Home Depot, Inc., 390 P.3d 428 (2017)]. The Commission misapplied the law and there was sufficient uncontradicted evidence to support Weymiller’s claim for replacement braces.” View "Weymiller v. Lockheed Idaho Technologies" on Justia Law

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Chandler’s-Boise, LLC (“Chandlers”), challenges a district court’s grant of summary judgment upholding the Idaho State Tax Commission’s (the “Commission”) deficiency determination. Chandlers owned and operated a restaurant in downtown Boise, Idaho. The Commission, through its Sales, Use, and Miscellaneous Tax Audit Bureau (the “Bureau”), conducted a comprehensive sales audit of Chandlers for the period of May 1, 2007, through May 31, 2010 (the “Audit Period”), to determine sales tax law compliance. After its audit, the Bureau found errors in sales, fixed asset additions, ordinary purchases, and meals given to employees and guests. The only error relevant to this appeal was Chandlers’ failure to pay sales tax on automatically added gratuities that were added to banquet meals, room service meals, and restaurant dining services for groups having six or more persons (the “Charges”). The bills that Chandlers gave its customers during the Audit Period did not contain a written statement indicating that the Charges could be declined as required by the Pre-2011 Rule. Chandlers did not retain the Charges in question; rather, the employees involved in preparing or providing the meals, including the server, busser, and bartender, kept the Charges. The Bureau issued a Notice of Deficiency Determination to Chandlers wherein it determined that Chandlers owed $91,243 for sales and use tax plus penalty and interest. After review, the Idaho Supreme Court determined the district court did not err in rejecting Chandlers’ arguments with respect to non-payment of the Charges, and affirmed that court’s judgment. View "Chandlers-Boise v. Idaho Tax Commission" on Justia Law

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Marty and Cindy Frantz executed a series of commercial guaranties so that Idaho Independent Bank (“Bank”) would lend money to Eagle Ridge on Twin Lakes, Inc. (“Eagle Ridge”), a closely held corporation in which the Frantzes held a majority interest. Bank filed this action against the Frantzes to recover on their commercial guaranties. The Frantzes filed an answer in which they admitted the material allegations in the complaint, but asserted affirmative defenses and counterclaims against Bank. They later amended their answer to include a third-party claim against Eagle Ridge. The Frantzes initially filed a petition under chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code the day before Mr. Frantz’s deposition was to occur; the Frantzes’ bankruptcy was converted to a liquidation case under chapter 7, and a trustee was duly appointed for the estate. Less than two weeks before the trial on Bank’s adversary proceeding in the bankruptcy case, the Frantzes filed a voluntary waiver of discharge, and the bankruptcy court approved the waiver. As a result, the bankruptcy court was deprived of jurisdiction to hear the adversary proceeding, and it dismissed it without prejudice. However, the court did award sanctions in the sum of $49,477.46 against the Frantzes and their attorney, jointly and severally, for their conduct during the course of the adversary proceeding. The court found that their conduct constituted misuse of litigation tactics to cause economic injury to an opponent and its counsel in the form of increased litigation costs. Bank filed a notice in this case that because of the waiver of discharge, the automatic stay from the bankruptcy court was terminated. Bank then moved for summary judgment. The district court entered a judgment against the Frantzes “in the amount of $9,193,546.50, plus pre-judgment interest at the rate of $2,475.02 per diem from September 16, 2015, until the date this Judgment is entered.” Because the Frantzes' third-party claim against Eagle Ridge that was yet unresolved, the court certified the judgment as final pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure. The Frantzes filed a motion for reconsideration, and the court denied that motion. They then timely appealed, arguing the district court erred in denying them affirmative defenses based upon an alleged breach of contract. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Idaho Independent Bank v. Frantz" on Justia Law

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Appellants Ronald and Margaret Swafford challenged a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Respondent Huntsman Springs, Inc. The action stemmed from the Swaffords’ claim that Huntsman Springs essentially cut off their property from the development by building a park and planting trees between their lot and the nearby street and development, and in doing so: (1) breached a contract; (2) breached an express warranty; (3) breached their duty of good faith and fair dealing; (4) violated the Idaho Consumer Protection Act; and (5) made false representations. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Huntsman Springs after concluding that all of the Swaffords’ claims were barred by the applicable statutes of limitation. The crux of the Swaffords’ action is that Huntsman Springs breached the Contract by failing to develop the surrounding area in conformance with the Master Plan of the development, i.e., by constructing the park that separated their property from the rest of the development. The Idaho Supreme Court determined the Master Plan was not incorporated or referenced by the Swaffords' Contract; therefore, it did not contractually obligate Huntsman Springs. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of Huntsman Springs. View "Swafford v. Huntsman Springs" on Justia Law

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Ashley Palmer (Palmer) and Stephen Palmer appealed a district court’s order granting Lisa Ellefson’s motion for a new trial under Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 59(a)(6). Ellefson was involved in an automobile accident caused by Palmer. A jury found that Ellefson was not injured in the accident. However, the district court determined that the jury verdict of “no injury” was against the clear weight of evidence and granted a new trial subject to an additur in the amount of $50,000. On appeal, Palmer argued that the district court abused its discretion in granting the new trial and in setting additur at $50,000. Finding no such error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Ellefson v. Palmer" on Justia Law

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This case was previously before the Idaho Supreme Court in In Matter of Doe (2016-14), 389 P.3d 141 (2016). There, the Court vacated the judgment terminating Jane Doe’s parental rights to her son M.R. and remanded the case for further findings of fact and conclusions of law. On remand, the magistrate court again terminated Doe’s parental rights. The magistrate court found that M.R. was neglected as defined by Idaho Code sections 16-2002(3)(a) and 16-2002(3)(b) and that Doe’s compliance with her case plan was not impossible. Doe timely appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "H & W v. Jane Doe (2017-3)" on Justia Law