Articles Posted in Idaho Supreme Court - Civil

by
The plaintiffs in this case appealed the grant of summary judgment upholding the validity of a bank's mortgage in real property that the plaintiffs had sold to a mortgagor in exchange for an interest in an investment account that turned out to be a Ponzi scheme. Plaintiffs filed an action against other parties to their transaction including the Bank of Commerce arguing, among other things, that they were entitled to rescind the sale of a portion of their property for lack or failure of consideration and mutual mistake ("They argue[d] that they did not receive any consideration because the . . . interest in their investment account with the Trigon Group turned out to be worthless. Mr. Harris testified that he 'assumed that was real money, which it later proved out not to be.'"). Finding no error in the district court's judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court. View "Harris v. Bank of Commerce" on Justia Law

by
Two real estate developers, a husband and wife, operated through various entities including a corporation and an LLC. In 2002, the corporation borrowed money from a lender; the developers, in their individual capacities, guaranteed this loan and all future advances. The corporation promptly repaid this loan. In 2005, the LLC twice borrowed money from the same lender. The lender originally insisted on a personal guaranty for these loans, but, in order to secure the developer's business, stated that no personal guaranty would be required. In 2006–07, the corporation again borrowed money from the lender in six separate loans. The corporation defaulted on these six loans, and, after the lender foreclosed on the real estate that served as collateral for the loans, the lender sued the developers for the deficiency. The district court granted the lender's motion for summary judgment, holding that the developers' affirmative defenses (1) were barred by the statute of frauds, (2) failed for lack of consideration, and (3) raised no genuine issues of material fact. The developers timely appealed to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the Court held that the developers' affirmative defenses were neither barred by the statute of frauds nor failed for lack of consideration. However, because none of those defenses raised a genuine issue of material fact, the Court affirmed. View "Washington Federal Savings v. Engelen" on Justia Law

by
This was an appeal of a judgment which held that a mechanic’s lien had priority over a mortgage. The judgment was predicated upon the district court's refusal to permit the mortgagee to withdraw an admission made in open court by its counsel that the mechanic's lien was valid. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court reversed the district court and held that the mechanic's lien was invalid because the lien did not show that it was verified before a person entitled to administer oaths. View "First Federal Savings Bank of Twin Falls v. Riedesel Engineering, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Washington Trust Bank (WTB) was the trustee of the trust created by Althea Bowman's last will and testament. Althea's four surviving children were the trust beneficiaries. Three of these beneficiaries argued to the district court that the Trustee exceeded its authority by encumbering a commercial property held by the trust with a deed of trust, and advancing funds to a fourth beneficiary. In that transaction, separate divisions of WTB acted as trustee (Trustee) and as the beneficiary of the deed of trust. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Trustee. Two of the beneficiaries appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order of dismissal because the Court concluded the Bowmans lacked standing and they asserted claims that were not ripe. View "Blankenship v. Washington Trust Bank" on Justia Law

by
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

by
This appeal arose from an action brought by Stonebrook Construction, LLC against Chase Home Finance, LLC where it sought to foreclose a mechanic's lien. The district court granted Chase's motion for summary judgment, holding that Stonebrook was precluded from placing a lien against the subject property because it did not properly register under the Idaho Contractor Registration Act (ICRA) Stonebrook appealed, arguing that Chase lacked standing to assert this defense and was not within the class intended to be protected by the ICRA. Alternatively, Stonebrook contended that the good-faith registration of one member of the LLC constituted actual or substantial compliance with the requirements of the ICRA. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court affirmed: "the plain language of the Act unambiguously indicates that the Legislature intended to require all limited liability companies engaged in the business of construction to register as contractors and to preclude those that do not register from enforcing mechanic's liens. Although the result for Stonebrook is harsh, it is the result the Legislature intended. [The Court was] not at liberty to disregard this legislative determination as to the most effective means of protecting the public." Thus, the Court declined to vacate the district court’s decision. View "Stonebrook Construction, LLC v. Chase Home Finance, LLC" on Justia Law

by
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.

by
n 2007, Plaintiff-Respondent Leslie Benz entered into a contract to purchase a townhouse that was to be constructed. The contract required her to make three nonrefundable payments of earnest money, which were to be applied to the purchase price. The property's seller sought a construction loan from Defendant-Appellant D.L. Evans Bank. As security for the loan, the seller executed a deed of trust granting the Bank a lien in the property upon which the townhouse would be constructed. The townhouse was substantially completed when Plaintiff was notified that the seller had filed for bankruptcy. The seller failed to pay construction expenses, and as a result, the closing did not occur as scheduled. Numerous mechanics' and materialmen's liens were filed against the property. Plaintiff negotiated with the seller in an attempt to clear the title and purchase the townhouse. Negotiations broke down, Plaintiff notified the seller that she was rescinding the contract, and demanded the return of the earnest money she paid. When the earnest money was not refunded, Plaintiff sued. The trial court held that Plaintiff's lien which was created in connection with the rescinded contract had priority over a deed of trust that the Bank had in the property. The Supreme Court reversed part of the trial court's judgment that awarded accrued interest from the earnest money, but affirmed the trial court's judgment in favor of Plaintiff.