Articles Posted in Idaho Supreme Court - Civil

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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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Darin Bergeman appeals the district court’s dismissal of his action against Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. (SPS) and Mohamed Elabed. This case arose from disposition of a home and acreage owned by Bergeman’s mother, Karen Hansen. In 1998, Ms. Hansen obtained a loan on the property that was secured by a deed of trust. The loan and deed of trust were eventually assigned to U.S. Bank National Association with SPS as the servicer for the loan. After Ms. Hansen died in 2006, Bergeman took possession of the property. Mortgage statements continued to be sent to the estate of Ms. Hansen and Bergeman made payments that were accepted and credited to the loan. However, Bergeman did not personally assume liability on the note. In March 2012, the executor of Ms. Hansen’s estate issued Bergeman an executor’s deed for the property. Around July 2015, apparently as a result of Bergeman’s incarceration, he stopped making payments on the loan. In September 2016, a Notice of Default was recorded. Although he alleges that he either made payments or made arrangements for others to make payments on the loan, Bergeman acknowledged the loan was in default. The Notice of Default was followed in October 2016 by a Trustee’s Notice of Sale that announced the foreclosure sale of the property. Notices of this sale were mailed to Ms. Hansen’s estate, the executor, Bergeman, and the current occupants of the property. During this same time, SPS continued to send monthly mortgage statements to the estate. At the foreclosure sale on February 23, 2017, Mohamed Elabed purchased the property. Bergeman sued SPS and Elabed alleging misrepresentation, negligent supervision, trespass, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. SPS and Elabed moved to dismiss, which was granted. Finding that Bergeman failed to support his claims as a "general attack upon the decision of the district court," the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed dismissal. View "Bergeman v. Select Portfolio Svc" 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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The family of Mrs. Francisca Gomez (the Gomezes) appealed a district court decision granting Crookham Company’s (Crookham) motion for summary judgment on all claims relating to Mrs. Gomez’s death. Crookham is a wholesale seed distributor located in Caldwell, Idaho. Mrs. Gomez was an employee of Crookham for more than thirty years before her death. In early 2015, Crookham decided that a new picking table was necessary to sort seeds more efficiently. A Crookham employee fabricated the new table and it was installed in the company’s “Scancore” room in late 2015. Although OSHA had previously cited Crookham for violating machine guard safety standards and lockout-tagout protocol with its former picking tables, the new picking table’s drive shaft was not fully guarded and Crookham did not perform the required lockout-tagout procedures while employees cleaned the table. While working in the Scanscore room, Mrs. Gomez was under the picking table attempting to clean it when the table’s exposed drive shaft caught her hair and pulled her into the machine. She died as a result of her injuries. OSHA subsequently investigated Crookham and issued “serious” violations to the company because it exposed its employees to the unguarded drive shaft without implementing lockout-tagout procedures. The district court held that Mrs. Gomez was working in the scope of her employment at the time of the accident, that all of the Gomezes’ claims were barred by the exclusive remedy rule of Idaho worker’s compensation law, that the exception to the exclusive remedy rule provided by Idaho Code section 72-209(3) did not apply, and that the Gomezes’ product liability claims fail as a matter of law because Crookham is not a “manufacturer.” Finding no reversible error in the district court's judgment, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Gomez v. Crookham" on Justia Law

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Jane Doe (Mother) appealed a magistrate court judgment terminating her parental rights to her three minor children: PG, KG, and BG. Near the end of February 2017, Mother, who was thirty-five weeks pregnant with BG, went into preterm labor while in jail. She was transported to a hospital but did not have the baby at that time. While at the hospital, she tested positive for methamphetamines. Around that time, KG was hospitalized to receive treatment for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Because Mother appeared to be under the influence of drugs when she visited KG in the hospital, the doctor called Child Protective Services over concerns that Mother could not adequately care for her child. After an investigation, the State of Idaho filed a petition to remove PG and KG from their home and they were placed into emergency shelter care on March 1, 2017. The children were three years old and one year old, respectively. BG was then born and placed in emergency shelter care on March 29, 2017, after testing positive for three kinds of opiates. Because Mother continued to use drugs, have other criminal issues, and made only minimal progress on her case plan after eight months, the State filed a petition to terminate her parental rights on November 28, 2017. Mother argued the magistrate court abused its discretion in determining that she neglected her children and that it was in the children’s best interest to terminate the parent-child relationship. Although Mother did not describe how the magistrate court abused its discretion or recite the abuse of discretion standard in her brief, the Idaho Supreme Court took her argument to be that substantial and competent evidence did not support the magistrate court’s findings. To this end, the Supreme Court disagreed and affirmed termination of her parental rights. View "DHW v. Jane Doe" on Justia Law

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At issue before the Idaho Supreme Court in this case was a magistrate court decision to deny a motion by Jane Doe (Mother), the biological mother of an adult, mentally-incapacitated child (Son) to set aside a decree of adoption declaring Jane Doe I (Step-Mother) to be a parent of Son. The decree was entered upon the joint petition for adoption filed by Son’s biological father (Father) and Step- Mother. Mother was not given notice of the proceedings. Upon learning of the adoption, she filed a motion to set aside the decree pursuant to Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). Father and Step-Mother did not respond to Mother’s 60(b) motion, which the magistrate court denied. In this direct appeal to the Supreme Court, Mother argued the lower court erred in denying her motion because notice to Mother and her consent was required. The Supreme Court concurred with Mother's contention that notice and consent was required. The Supreme Court reversed the magistrate court's denial, vacated the decree of adoption, and remanded this matter for further proceedings. View "In the Matter of Adoption by Step-Parent" on Justia Law