Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Ron Schilling, District Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Schwartzman, Judge Pro Tem
) 2013 Unpublished Opinion No. 450
) Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk
) THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED ) OPINION AND SHALL NOT ) BE CITED AS AUTHORITY
Order of the district court granting summary judgment on grounds of res judicata, affirmed.
Sun Surety Insurance Company (Sun Surety) filed a civil action against the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho and several state employees in their official capacities (collectively "Respondents") seeking to set aside the forfeiture of a bail bond and to exonerate the bond, after having been denied the same relief in the bond forfeiture proceedings arising from the underlying criminal case. The district court determined that Sun Surety's civil claim was barred by res judicata and entered summary judgment in favor of the Respondents.
In May 2008, Elliott Bailey was charged with delivery of a controlled substance and driving without privileges. Bailey was released on bail after Steven Ellefson, a bail agent authorized to execute an undertaking of bail bond on behalf of Sun Surety, posted bond in the amount of $150,000. When Bailey failed to appear for a change of plea hearing on November 3, the district court entered an order forfeiting bail and issued a bench warrant for his arrest. The court clerk mailed a notice of the bail forfeiture to Ellefson the same day. Bailey was re-arrested on November 6, and the criminal case was quickly resolved; Bailey pleaded guilty shortly thereafter, and was held in custody until sentencing.
Ellefson filed a motion to set aside the forfeiture and exonerate the bond on January 29, 2009, on the ground that Bailey had been arrested and was in state custody.*fn1 On March 12, the district court, sua sponte and without a hearing, denied the motion without prejudice "for lack of approval by [the Trial Court Administrator's] office. So ordered." Sun Surety, acting through private counsel, filed another motion to set aside the forfeiture and exonerate the bond on May 1, on the ground that Bailey had been arrested and was in custody. On May 29, 2009, the district court, again sua sponte and without a hearing, denied the motion without prejudice, writing on the motion:
Pursuant to I.C. § 19-2927, the Defendant has not appeared within 180 days after failing to appear and satisfactorily excused his neglect; moreover, a person posting the bail has not surrendered the Defendant to a jail facility within 180 days of the Court's entry in the minutes the fact of Defendant's failure to appear. So ordered.
Sun Surety did not file a motion for reconsideration or an appeal from the denial of either motion.
On November 2, 2010, seventeen months after the district court denied Sun Surety's motion to set aside forfeiture and exonerate bond, Sun Surety initiated an independent civil action, which is the subject of this appeal. Sun Surety sought a declaratory judgment exonerating the bond on the ground that the court clerk did not send notice of the forfeiture to Sun Surety or Sun Surety's designated agent as required by statute.*fn2 Sun Surety alternatively sought a writ of review, a writ of prohibition, a permanent injunction, and exoneration based on equitable relief and the doctrine of impossibility of performance. The ...