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L.P. and E.P. were half-siblings who lived with their maternal grandmother until her sudden death. The Department of Health & Welfare filed a petition for custody of the children under the Child Protection Act (CPA) and placed both children in the home of the Does, E.P.’s paternal grandmother and step-grandfather. The Department submitted a permanency plan identifying the goal of termination of parental rights and adoption by relative. Early in 2015, the magistrate court approved the permanency plan. After several months of tension between the Does and L.P., the Department acceded to the Does’ request that L.P. be removed from their home. The Department did not inform the magistrate court of the change in circumstances for several months. Following a trial on issues of neglect, abandonment, and consent, the magistrate entered an order terminating the parental rights to both children. The Department was designated as guardian of both children. The Does moved to intervene in the CPA case. The magistrate judge denied the motion. The court then entered an order prohibiting the Department from removing E.P. from the Does’ home without court approval. In early 2016, the Department filed a report and an expert’s sibling assessment that concluded the children should be placed together because of the strong attachment between them. In September 2016, the Department filed a post-termination permanency plan that requested a change in the permanency goal from adoption by relative to adoption by non-relative. Due to factual deficiencies, the magistrate judge rejected that amended permanency plan. In January 2017, the Department filed a second amended permanency plan that sought to move forward with adoption of both children by L.P.’s non-relative foster parents. After a comprehensive review of the case, the magistrate court rejected the amended permanency plan with regard to E.P. but approved it with regard to L.P., removed the Department as guardian of E.P., and appointed Jane Doe as E.P.’s guardian. The Idaho Supreme Court determined the magistrate court abused its discretion by disregarding the sibling placement priority and the Department’s primary role when considering the permanency plans. Furthermore, the Court determined the magistrate court abused its discretion by preventing the Department from removing E.P. from the Does’ home and terminating the Department's guardianship over E.P. All magistrate court orders with regard to E.P. were vacated, and on remand, this case was ordered to be assigned to a new magistrate judge for further proceedings. View "Dept. of Health & Welfare v. Does I" 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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The grant of summary judgment dismissed an action originally brought by Diane Brooks against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (“Wal-Mart”) based on injuries Brooks received when she slipped and fell on a puddle of water near a Rug Doctor self-service kiosk (the “kiosk”) inside a store in Boise, Idaho. Brooks based her claims on premises liability and negligent mode of operation, alleging Wal-Mart knew or should have known that water could spill or leak onto the floor near the kiosk. Wal-Mart moved for summary judgment, arguing that Brooks failed to establish Wal-Mart had actual or constructive notice of the condition that caused her injury, because there was no evidence showing where the liquid came from, how long it had been on the floor, or what it was. The district court agreed; the Supreme Court did not. The Supreme Court found material issues of fact existed, thus precluding summary judgment. The case was reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Brooks v. Wal-Mart" on Justia Law

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Ida Vasquez was convicted by jury of one count of intimidating a witness. Vasquez argued she was deprived of her state and federal constitutional right to a jury trial because, although her counsel waived her right to a jury trial, Vasquez never personally waived such right, either orally or in writing. Vasquez subsequently appealed and this case was originally heard and decided by the Court of Appeals; however, the Idaho Supreme Court granted the State’s petition for review. Under its Court’s fundamental error analysis, the Supreme Court held a criminal defendant’s waiver of the right to jury trial must be made by the defendant orally or in writing. Vasquez’s failure to personally waive her right to jury trial was a clear violation of a constitutional right. The Judgment of Conviction was vacated nunc pro tunc to December 1, 2014. View "Idaho v. Vasquez" on Justia Law

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The Idaho Supreme Court reversed the magistrate court in an expedited appeal regarding the termination of John Doe (2017-32)'s parental rights. John Doe is the father of minor children KB and AB (the “Children”). The Children entered the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s (“IDHW”) custody in December 2014 after the Twin Falls Police declared them to be in imminent danger. The Children were in their mother’s (“Mother”) care when the police arrested her for possession of a controlled substance. Law enforcement described the condition of Mother’s home at this time as “filthy, cluttered, and containing numerous safety hazards, including raw sewage being present in the basement.” An Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) case plan, filed January 2015, included number of enumerated tasks for both Doe and Mother to complete in order for them to reunite with the Children. The case plan sought to provide Doe and Mother a framework to address “stable housing, sanitary living conditions, the need to obtain controlled substance abuse treatment, to remain clean/sober, and [to] stay out of jail.” Mother relapsed within weeks of a December 2016 order and was arrested for felony possession, kicked out of Drug Court, and went to prison. IDHW sought to terminate Doe and Mother’s parental rights. Doe had not completed his required drug treatment regimen by a first trial, he became more actively involved in his treatment plan by the time of a second trial. Doe showed other encouraging signs between the first and second trial as well, including significant progress on his case plan. However, the magistrate court noted that, despite progress, Doe still had not completed his case plan nor reunified with his children in the intervening period between the first and second trial. The court issued a Memorandum Decision granting termination of Doe and Mother’s parental rights on October 2, 2017, and entered a corresponding judgment ten days later on October 12, 2017. Mother did not appeal, but Doe timely filed his notice of appeal. The Supreme Court found the magistrate court’s December 2016 order stating that termination was not in the Children’s best interest was irreconcilable with IDHW’s first official recommendation following that order that termination “remains” in the Children’s best interest. The magistrate court’s October 2017 decision following the second trial highlighted Doe’s failure to reunify with the Children as a substantial factor in his ultimate decision to terminate. The magistrate court’s procedural error in not entering judgment for Doe and dismissing the petition upon finding that termination was not in the Children’s best interest affected Doe’s fundamental rights in this case. View "Dept. of Health & Welfare v. John Doe (2017-32)" on Justia Law

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Erick Virgil Hall was convicted of the 2000 first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, and rape of Lynn Henneman. Henneman was a flight attendant from New York, laid over in Boise that day. She and the rest of the flight crew arrived in the early afternoon and checked into a hotel near the Boise River. That evening, Henneman went walking on the Greenbelt. After failing to meet the flight crew the next morning as planned, Henneman was reported missing and an extensive search was undertaken. Two weeks later, her body was discovered floating in the Boise River more than a mile downstream from her hotel. No suspect was identified until 2003, when police were investigating the murder of another woman in the Boise foothills. Erick Hall was questioned in connection with that murder and submitted a DNA sample. Hall’s sample matched the DNA on the vaginal swabs collected from Henneman’s body three years earlier. Hall was ultimately sentenced to death for murder and to consecutive, fixed life terms for first-degree kidnapping and rape. Hall petitioned for post-conviction relief, alleging numerous errors at trial. Hall’s petition for post-conviction relief was summarily dismissed. Hall’s direct and post- conviction appeals are consolidated pursuant to Idaho Code section 19-2719(6). The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of conviction and the order dismissing the post-conviction petition. View "Idaho v. Hall" on Justia Law

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This case centers on efforts to collect payment for medical services. Medical Recovery Services, LLC (“MRS”), appealed a district court decision affirming rulings of the magistrate court in favor of the patient, Jared Neumeier. Neumeier’s doctor’s billing agent assigned the delinquent account to MRS for collection. Neumeier did not receive any attempted communications from his doctor’s office or MRS, nor did he receive any other form of demand for payment related to the delinquent account. Neumeier saw his doctor for other unrelated medical services, which resulted in a separate bills that were submitted to insurance for payment. MRS eventually sent a letter addressed to Neumeier at his correct address. The one-page letter was attached to MRS’s complaint and was the only communication to Neumeier from either his doctor or MRS. The letter listed Neumeier’s contact information, the amount owed (exclusive of interest), the name of the creditor (MRS), and paraphrased recitations of the required inclusions under the Fair Debt Collections Act. The undated notice letter did not identify the doctor or connect the debt with a particular bill or treatment. Without a response from Neumeier, MRS requested its legal counsel to file an action to recover the debt. Neumeier visited his doctor under the belief that the notice letter was a fraud or scam. During this visit, the office discovered that it had never submitted the bill to Neumeier’s insurer; however, the office also informed Neumeier that the account had already been assigned to MRS for collection. On the same date, MRS filed a complaint against Neumeier, seeking a total award of $1,891.37, including $958.63 for the principal amount, $282.39 in statutory prejudgment interest, and attorney’s fees and costs. The next day, Neumeier contacted MRS and was informed that he was “too late.” Neumeier was subsequently served with a complaint and summons. The bill subject to the collection action was eventually submitted to insurance, and all but a $42 co-payment was paid. The doctor’s office waived the co-payment. Once the account was satisfied, MRS refused to drop its suit, claiming it was still owed pre-judgment interest. A magistrate found MRS was not owed interest, and dismissed the case. The Idaho Supreme Court found no error in that judgment, and affirmed the magistrate’s decisions. View "Medical Recovery Svc v. Neumeier" on Justia Law

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This case centers on efforts to collect payment for medical services. Medical Recovery Services, LLC (“MRS”), appealed a district court decision affirming rulings of the magistrate court in favor of the patient, Jared Neumeier. Neumeier’s doctor’s billing agent assigned the delinquent account to MRS for collection. Neumeier did not receive any attempted communications from his doctor’s office or MRS, nor did he receive any other form of demand for payment related to the delinquent account. Neumeier saw his doctor for other unrelated medical services, which resulted in a separate bills that were submitted to insurance for payment. MRS eventually sent a letter addressed to Neumeier at his correct address. The one-page letter was attached to MRS’s complaint and was the only communication to Neumeier from either his doctor or MRS. The letter listed Neumeier’s contact information, the amount owed (exclusive of interest), the name of the creditor (MRS), and paraphrased recitations of the required inclusions under the Fair Debt Collections Act. The undated notice letter did not identify the doctor or connect the debt with a particular bill or treatment. Without a response from Neumeier, MRS requested its legal counsel to file an action to recover the debt. Neumeier visited his doctor under the belief that the notice letter was a fraud or scam. During this visit, the office discovered that it had never submitted the bill to Neumeier’s insurer; however, the office also informed Neumeier that the account had already been assigned to MRS for collection. On the same date, MRS filed a complaint against Neumeier, seeking a total award of $1,891.37, including $958.63 for the principal amount, $282.39 in statutory prejudgment interest, and attorney’s fees and costs. The next day, Neumeier contacted MRS and was informed that he was “too late.” Neumeier was subsequently served with a complaint and summons. The bill subject to the collection action was eventually submitted to insurance, and all but a $42 co-payment was paid. The doctor’s office waived the co-payment. Once the account was satisfied, MRS refused to drop its suit, claiming it was still owed pre-judgment interest. A magistrate found MRS was not owed interest, and dismissed the case. The Idaho Supreme Court found no error in that judgment, and affirmed the magistrate’s decisions. View "Medical Recovery Svc v. Neumeier" on Justia Law

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The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Marian Baker, Trustee of the Marian B. Baker Trust (“Baker”), for an easement over a logging road (“Alexanna Lane”) that crossed the property of KAL, LLC (“KAL”). Initially there were claims involving John and Vickie Stadler (the “Stadlers”), and Jose Melendreras and Jacqueline Diaz-Melendreras (the “Melendrerases”). However, the appeal here involved only the claims between Baker and KAL. In February of 2015 Baker filed a complaint to quiet title against KAL, the Stadlers and the Melendrerases to extinguish an easement on the Baker Property. The Stadlers answered Baker’s complaint and asserted claims against Baker and the Melendrerases to quiet title and for common law trespass. The Stadlers noted that access to the Baker Property was intended to run through the Melendreras Property, not through the KAL Property or the Stadler Property. Baker filed a motion for summary judgment with respect to Count I and Count II of the Stadlers’ counterclaim, asserting that she was entitled to use Alexanna Lane to access her property because: (1) a statutory easement was created pursuant to Idaho Code section 55-603; (2) the 1999 deed intended to create and describe the easement; (3) an implied easement existed; (4) an easement by necessity existed because there was no other access to a public road; and (5) there was an easement by prescription. The Stadlers opposed Baker’s motion for summary judgment, asserting that there was no easement created that allowed Baker to access Alexanna Lane. Amidst these disputes KAL filed an answer and counterclaim to Baker’s complaint, asserting that Baker had no legal right to travel across the KAL Property; KAL maintained the 1999 deed was ambiguous, and the language did not reserve an easement that ultimately Baker claimed she held. Finding no reversible error in the district court’s determination of the meaning of the easement language in the deed, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment. View "Baker v. KAL, LLC" on Justia Law