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Autumn Youngblood v. Jessie Higbee

February 19, 2008

AUTUMN YOUNGBLOOD, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JESSIE HIGBEE, BIG O TIRES, AND DENNIS CLAUNCH TIRES, INC., AN IDAHO CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS. AUTUMN YOUNGBLOOD, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JESSIE HIGBEE, BIG O TIRES, AND DENNIS CLAUNCH TIRES, INC., AN IDAHO CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bonneville County. Hon. Richard T. St. Clair, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Burdick, Justice

2008 Opinion No. 30

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

District court grant of summary judgment, affirmed.

This case arises from a negligence action brought against a franchisor. The district court granted the franchisor's motion for summary judgment. We affirm.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Appellant Autumn Youngblood was riding as a passenger in driver Jessie Higbee's vehicle and was injured when Higbee's vehicle rear-ended another vehicle in Idaho Falls on June 5, 2003. Respondent Big O Tires, Inc. is the franchisor of the Idaho Falls Big O Tires store owned and operated by Dennis Claunch Tires, Inc. (Claunch). Claunch, who allegedly inspected and worked on Higbee's brakes prior to the accident, was not initially named in the complaint, but was named as a defendant when the complaint was amended on September 11, 2006.

On June 3, 2005, Youngblood filed a complaint against Higbee and "Big O Tires" alleging that "Big O Tires" failed to exercise due care when repairing Higbee's brake system. Big O Tires, Inc. was served with the complaint on or about September 8, 2005. Big O Tires, Inc. moved for summary judgment arguing that it was not properly named in Youngblood's complaint and that there is no entity named "Big O Tires." Big O Tires, Inc. further argued that it was entitled to summary judgment because it was not involved in the brake work on Higbee's vehicle. Youngblood opposed the motion for summary judgment and apparently also made a motion, which does not appear in the record, to amend her complaint to substitute Claunch for Big O Tires, Inc.

The district court granted Big O Tires, Inc.'s motion for summary judgment and granted Youngblood's motion to amend her complaint to substitute Claunch for Big O Tires, Inc.*fn1

Youngblood appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment to Big O Tires, Inc.

II. ANALYSIS

Youngblood argues that it was an abuse of discretion for the district court to grant summary judgment instead of amending the complaint, that Big O Tires, Inc. should be estopped from moving for summary judgment based on the incorrect designation, and that the designation was sufficient under Idaho's notice pleading system. Youngblood also argues there are genuine issues of material fact as to Big O Tires, Inc.'s vicarious liability. We will address each issue in turn.

A. Summary Judgment

Youngblood argues that the district court abused its discretion by granting the motion for summary judgment instead of amending the complaint to reflect Big O Tires Inc.'s legal name. A district court's decision to grant or refuse permission to amend a complaint after a responsive pleading is served is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. Hines v. Hines, 129 Idaho 847, 853, 934 P.2d 20, 26 (1997). However in this ...


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