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Joshua C. Jones and Laura D. v. Jay B. Starnes and Julie A. Starnes

January 10, 2011

JOSHUA C. JONES AND LAURA D. JONES, HUSBAND AND WIFE, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
JAY B. STARNES AND JULIE A. STARNES, HUSBAND AND WIFE; TTJ'S INC., AN IDAHO CORPORATION, DBA BOOMERS; AND JOHN AND JANE DOE I THROUGH 50, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



Appeal from the District Court of the Second Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Nez Perce County. Hon. Jeff M. Brudie, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: W. Jones, Justice

Lewiston, November 2010 Term

2011 Opinion No. 4

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

The judgment by the district court is affirmed. Costs on appeal are awarded to Respondents.

I. NATURE OF THE CASE

This case arises from a brawl that occurred outside of Boomers bar in Lewiston, in which Appellant Joshua Jones was injured by an unknown assailant. Joshua Jones and his wife Laura appeal the summary judgment of the district court, which held that (1) no duty was owed to Mr. Jones by Boomers and that (2) there was not a sufficient causal connection between Mr. Jones' injury and any duty owed by Boomers.

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On December 17, 2005, Appellants Joshua and Laura Jones went out to dinner with Mr. Jones' sister Sprie Tucker and her husband George "Bear" Tucker. After dinner, the four of them picked up a friend and drove him to Boomers. The Joneses parked their truck in front of Boomers and waited for their friend to come back out. Mr. Jones admits that he never entered Boomers, nor did he plan on entering Boomers that evening.

The Joneses observed a Boomers bouncer escort a patron out of the bar onto the sidewalk, and then go back into the bar. Although the witnesses have different accounts of how the patron was brought out, each states that after the patron was brought out, he bounced up off the sidewalk and hit the Joneses' truck. Mrs. Jones states that there was no one in the street before the patron was brought out. The Joneses then saw a group of people spill out of Boomers and onto the sidewalk around the area of the street where their truck was parked. Mr. Jones got out of the truck to try to clear a path for the truck to leave, and was subsequently struck in the face and knocked to the ground by a member of the group. Mrs. Jones and Sprie identified Mr. Jones' assailant as "[a] man of either Indian or Mexican descent, wearing a puffy coat," but could not provide any further description. Mr. Jones cannot identify anything about his assailant.

On April 11, 2006, the Joneses filed a complaint alleging negligence against Jay and Julie Starnes, who are shareholders of TTJ's Inc., as well as TTJ's Inc., doing business as Boomers (herein collectively referred to as "Boomers"), to recover for Mr. Jones' injuries, and filed an amended complaint on October 15, 2008. Boomers filed its motion for summary judgment on June 4, 2009, arguing that there was no duty of care owed to the Joneses by Boomers. The district court granted summary judgment to Boomers on September 16, 2009, finding that there was not a sufficient causal link between Boomers' actions and Mr. Jones' injury to sustain any cause of action, and that the Joneses had not provided sufficient evidence to show Boomers owed a duty to Mr. Jones.

III. ISSUES ON APPEAL

1. Whether the Joneses provided sufficient evidence to establish that Boomers owed Mr. Jones a duty of care.

2. Whether the Joneses provided sufficient evidence to establish a causal connection between the injury Mr. Jones ...


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