Articles Posted in Idaho Supreme Court - Civil

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After review of the documents and affidavits proffered in support of Plaintiff Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC’s (“PRA”) position, the Idaho Supreme Court concluded they did not contain adequate foundation and were not admissible under the business records exception to the hearsay rule. PRA sued Defendant Lloyd MacDonald for an amount owed on a Citibank credit card account. MacDonald filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that PRA did not have standing to bring this action because it could not prove that the debt had been assigned by Citibank to PRA. MacDonald objected to the evidence PRA submitted to support its position, arguing that the evidence was inadmissible hearsay and lacked adequate foundation. The magistrate court overruled MacDonald’s objections and granted summary judgment in favor of PRA. MacDonald appealed to the district court. The district court affirmed the magistrate court’s decision. The Supreme Court found that even the catch-all exception to the hearsay rule could not be used to admit some of the documents. The decision to grant summary judgment in favor of PRA was reversed and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "Portfolio Recovery Assoc v. MacDonald" on Justia Law

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The district court erred in affirming the magistrate’s decision that Medical Recovery Services, LLC (MRS) was estopped from requesting attorney fees under Idaho Code section 12-120(5). MRS attempted a garnishment of Penny Siler’s wages, which was returned unsatisfied because Siler, a school bus driver who cared for her disabled husband and made an average of $499.00 a month, did not earn enough to garnish. MRS agreed to accept $10.00 per month for payment on a default judgment entered after Siler failed to pay a medical bill. Siler went to MRS’s counsel’s office and was told the payoff amount was $1,224.88. She paid that amount in cash. Six days later, counsel for MRS filed an application for supplemental attorney fees under Idaho Code section 12-120(5). Following the hearing, the magistrate court issued an order denying MRS’s application for supplemental attorney fees. In its order, the magistrate court, sua sponte, found that MRS was barred by quasi and equitable estoppel from asking for attorney fees because MRS had told Siler the “payoff amount” was $1,224.88, and MRS did not inform Siler it planned to pursue additional postjudgment fees. MRS appealed the magistrate’s decision to the district court. The district court affirmed, finding “the Magistrate Court retains discretion as to whether, or what amount of, attorney fees will be awarded,” and therefore was free to consider any factor it deemed appropriate, including quasi or equitable estoppel, in determining the amount of attorney fees. View "Medical Recovery Svcs v. Siler" on Justia Law

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H. Peter Doble II appealed a district court’s order awarding Interstate Amusements, Inc. (Interstate) attorney fees. Interstate owned and operated a number of movie theaters throughout Magic Valley. As part of its business, Interstate marketed and sold vouchers known as “Cinema Cash:” vouchers purchased in $1.00 increments and could be redeemed for movie tickets and concessions sold at Interstate’s various theater locations. Each voucher was clearly marked with an expiration date after which the voucher was no longer redeemable. Doble attempted to redeem an expired Cinema Cash voucher at one of Interstate’s movie theaters in Twin Falls. Doble filed a Complaint against Interstate in which he alleged that the issuance of Cinema Cash violated Idaho’s Consumer Protection Act (ICPA). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Interstate. With regard to fees, the court found that Doble brought his action “frivolously, unreasonably, and without foundation” and awarded Interstate attorney fees under Idaho Code section 12-121. The district court then entered an amended judgment stating: “The defendant, Interstate Amusement, Inc., shall recover from the plaintiff costs in the amount of $320.44 and attorney’s fees in the amount of $7,972.50, for a total of $8,292.94.” Finding no reversible error in the district court's fee award, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Doble v. Interstate Amusements, Inc." on Justia Law

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Lorene Lowe had two credit cards issued by Citibank, N.A. Citibank sold both credit card accounts to Pilot Receivables Management, LLC, and in late 2012, it assigned the accounts for collection to Unifund CCR, LLC. On December 2, 2013, Unifund filed this action to collect on Account No. 2085, and on May 23, 2014, it filed an amended complaint to add a claim to collect on Account No. 0415. Lowe filed an answer asserting the affirmative defense of the statute of limitations and four counterclaims. Both parties moved for summary judgment, with the primary issue being the applicable statute of limitations. Unifund contended that the applicable statute of limitations was a five-year statute applicable to an action on a written contract, and Lowe contended that the applicable statute of limitations was a four-year statute applicable to an action on an oral contract. Both parties agreed that the statute of limitations began to run on each account on the date of the last payment. The district court ruled that the five-year statute of limitations applied. Lowe then agreed to withdraw her counterclaims in exchange for an offset of $500 against the amount of any judgment obtained by Unifund. The district court entered a judgment against her in the sum of $35,259.87, which included the principal, prejudgment interest, court costs and attorney fees. Lowe then timely appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Unifund CCR, LLC v. Lowe" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Tanner Mickelsen appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Respondent Broadway Ford, Inc. on his complaint that alleged fraud in the inducement. Petitioner asked for a rescission of the contract between the parties based on that alleged fraud or alternatively on mutual mistake. Petitioner leased a truck from Broadway Ford. The truck had over 1400 miles on it, but was sold as new and under factory warranty. The truck had been modified with a six-inch suspension lift and four oversized tires. Though he purchased the truck in Idaho Falls, Petitioner resided in Moses Lake, and took the truck to his local dealership for repairs. In the first year of the lease, Discovery Ford made several repairs to the vehicle under the warranty. But when Petitioner took the truck back to Discovery Ford for "handling problems," the service manager advised Petitioner that these repairs would not be covered by the warranty because of the lift modifications made to the truck's suspension. Broadway Ford told Petitioner that they would try to resolve the issue if Petitioner drove or shipped the truck to Idaho Falls. Petitioner did not take the truck back to Idaho Falls or ship it there. He eventually stopped making lease payments and voluntarily surrendered the truck to the bank who provided the financing. Finding that the district court made no error in granting summary judgment in favor of Broadway Ford, the Court affirmed that court's decision. View "Mickelsen v. Broadway Ford, Inc." on Justia Law

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Security Financial Fund, LLC, ("Security Financial") extended to Byron and Marilynn Thomason ("the Thomasons") a series of loans evidenced by five promissory notes, which were secured by three deeds of trust and two mortgages on real property. As a result of the Thomasons' non-payment on two prornissory notes secured by the mortgages, Security Financial foreclosed on those notes. While the foreclosure was still pending, the Thomasons filed a separate action against Security Financial and others, addressing all the promissory notes executed in favor of Security Financial by the Thomasons. That action sought recovery for breach of contract and fraud, among other theories. Both actions were consolidated. On appeal from the district court's decision to grant Security Financial's Motion for Summary Judgment with regard to the claims that the Thomasons asserted in their fraud case, the Thomasons contended, among other things, that the district court lacked subject matter and personal jurisdiction to foreclose on the secured property and abused its discretion. The Supreme Court concluded that all of the Thomasons' claims were waived or frivolous, and accordingly affirmed the Final Judgment in favor of Security Financial. View "Security Financial Fund v. Thomason" on Justia Law

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In April and June of 2008, Best of the Best Auto Sales, Inc. purchased seven vehicles from Dealers Auto Auction of Idaho and Brasher's Idaho Auto Auction with checks that were returned for insufficient funds. As a result, Dealers and Brasher refused to provide Best of the Best with the titles to the vehicles. Best of the Best then sold the vehicles to Idaho consumers without providing them with titles. Dealers and Brasher filed claims with CNA Surety d/b/a Western Surety Company which acted as a surety for a "$20,000 Vehicle/Vessel Dealer Bond." Best of the Best was the principal. Upon Best of the Best's failure to provide evidence or defenses for Dealers' and Brasher's claims, Western Surety alleged that it lawfully settled those claims in good faith upon the condition that the consumers received their titles, even though they were not based on final judgments. Plaintiff Nick Hestead submitted his claim, which was based on a final judgment. Plaintiff's claim involved fraud and fraudulent representation concerning a separate vehicle that he purchased from Best of the Best that was previously branded a lemon in California. Western Surety responded by asserting that the Dealer Bond was exhausted. Plaintiff contended that the plain meaning of I.C. 49-1610(4) provides that his claim should be given priority because it was submitted thirty days after a final judgment was entered, unlike Dealers' and Brasher's claims. Western Surety asserted that the plain meaning of I.C. 41-1839(3) permits sureties to settle Dealer Bond claims in good faith. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the payments on the surety bond were lawfully made in good faith pursuant to I.C. 49-1610(1) and I.C. 41-1839(3) because Dealers' and Brasher's claims were undisputed and supported by competent evidence. View "Hestead v. CNA Supply dba Western Surety Co." on Justia Law

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In 2003, Appellant Bridge Tower Dental hired Respondent Meridian Computer Center to provide its dental practice with a computer hardware system subject to a warranty contract. In June of 2005, Bridge began experiencing problems with its server. Bridge Tower Dental entrusted its computer server, including both of its hard drives, to Meridian in order to repair or restore the failing hard drive. While attempting to restore the failing hard drive, Respondent mistakenly confused the source and destination locations on the motherboard and inadvertently erased all of Bridge's data, including the practice's patient records, from the working hard drive. Bridge filed suit against Meridian for breach of contract and negligence under the law of bailment. At trial, the district court denied Bridge's request to submit different jury instructions for the separate claims, and instead combined the contract claim with the negligent bailment claim in the final jury instructions. The jury entered a general verdict in favor of Meridian. Bridge filed a Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict, or alternatively, a Motion for New Trial, both of which were denied by the district court. The court entered an order awarding attorney's fees and costs to Meridian. Bridge appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the district court erred in denying its Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict because Meridian failed to prove that it was not negligent in erasing the data contained on the working hard drive, that the court erred in denying the Motion for New Trial because the jury instructions were improper, and that the district court erred in awarding attorney's fees and costs. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the district court's denial of Bridge's post-trial motion and vacated the lower court's award of attorney's fees because Meridian was no longer the prevailing party. View "Bridge Tower Dental, P.A. v. Meridian Computer Center, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-Appellant Vernon was a homeowner in default on his home loan. ReconTrust, the holder of Plaintiff's deed of trust, initiated a nonjudicial foreclosure on the deed. Upon receiving notice of the trustee's sale, Plaintiff sued ReconTrust, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., and Bank of New York Mellon. He alleged that none of the defendants had standing to initiate the foreclosure. Bank of New York moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim on the claims that it complied with the statutory requirements to foreclose, and that standing was not a requirement for nonjudicial foreclosures. The district court granted the motion, and Plaintiff appealed. He argued that before a party may initiate a nonjudicial foreclosure it must affirmatively show it has standing by having an interest to both the deed of trust and the promissory note. Finding that a trustee was not required to prove it had standing before foreclosing on a deed of trust, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's dismissal of Plaintiff's complaint. View "Trotter v. Bank of New York Mellon" on Justia Law