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Sims v. Jacobson

Supreme Court of Idaho

February 2, 2015

KEITH A. SIMS, dba KASCO OF IDAHO, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company, Plaintiff-Counterdefendant-Appellant,
v.
DAN S. JACOBSON, an individual; SAGE HOLDINGS, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company; STEVEN G. LAZAR, an individual, THE MITCHELL A. MARTIN AND KAREN C. MARTIN FAMILY TRUST DATED AUGUST 9, 2005; DEVON CHAPMAN, an individual, Defendants-Counterclaimants-Respondents, and MONUMENT HEIGHTS, LLC; an Idaho limited liability company; ACI NORTHWEST, INC., an Idaho corporation; CHARLES R. DEAN, Successor Trustee; and JOHN and JANE DOES 1-100, Defendants. ACI NORTHWEST, INC., an Idaho corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
MONUMENT HEIGHTS, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company; DAN S. JACOBSON, an individual; SAGE HOLDINGS, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company; STEVEN G. LAZAR, an individual; THE MITCHELL A. MARTIN AND KAREN C. MARTIN FAMILY TRUST DATED AUGUST 9, 2005; DEVON CHAPMAN, an individual; KEITH SIMS dba KASCO OF IDAHO, LLC an Idaho limited liability company, Defendants

Page 908

2015 Opinion No. 13

Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Benjamin R. Simpson, District Judge.

District court order granting attorney fees, affirmed.

Madsen Law Offices, Coeur d'Alene, for appellant. Henry D. Madsen argued.

Lukins & Annis, PS, Coeur d'Alene, for respondents. Jonathon D. Hallin argued.

BURDICK, Chief Justice. Justices EISMANN, J. JONES, HORTON and WALTERS, J., Pro tem, CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 909

BURDICK, Chief Justice

This appeal arose from three mechanic's liens that Keith A. Sims, dba Kasco of Idaho, LLC (" Sims" ) filed on property that Dan S. Jacobson, Sage Holdings, LLC, Steven G. Lazar, the Mitchell A. Martin and Karen C. Martin Family Trust, and Devon Chapman (collectively " the Jacobson group" ) had an interest in. The Kootenai County district court granted summary judgment to the Jacobson group on Sims's lien foreclosure and quantum meruit claims. The court also

Page 910

awarded the Jacobson group their attorney fees and costs. Sims appealed the district court's (1) grant of summary judgment on the lien foreclosure; (2) denial of a continuance at the quantum meruit hearing; and (3) award of attorney fees. Sims later withdrew his appeal on the lien foreclosure and continuance issues, so the only issue remaining is the district court's grant of attorney fees to the Jacobson group. We affirm the district court's award.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

This case began with a contract between Sims and Monument Heights, LLC. On June 20, 2008, Monument Heights entered into an express contract with Sims to blast rock for road construction on real property Monument Heights owned in Post Falls, Idaho. The property was made up of three contiguous parcels. On June 20, 2008, Sims began work on the property.

Because Sims was not paid, he stopped work on September 13, 2008. On November 25, 2008, Sims recorded three mechanic's liens with Kootenai County on Monument Heights's property. On May 11, 2009, Sims claimed (1) foreclosure of materialman's lien; (2) breach of contract; and (3) quantum meruit. The complaint named as defendants Monument Heights and " John and Jane Doe 1-100 et al., individually, as owners, or agents of owners."

Sims did not include the Jacobson group as defendants until he amended his complaint on December 18, 2009. The amended complaint asserted the same three claims. Sims alleged a breach of contract between Sims and " all defendants." Sims amended his pleadings several more times, but his three claims against the Jacobson group stayed the same.[1]

The Jacobson group moved for summary judgment against Sims's lien foreclosure claim. The district court granted that motion at a hearing on January 18, 2011. The court reasoned that because Sims did not make the Jacobson group a party within six months of filing the lien, the group was not bound under Idaho Code section 45-510's six-month statute of limitations for lien enforcement. The district court also granted the Jacobson group summary judgment on Sims's quantum meruit claim at a February 22, 2011 hearing. Sims's attorney had filed a motion to continue that motion for summary judgment. The court denied the motion to continue at the quantum meruit hearing.

Sims timely appealed. The Jacobson group then asked the district court for costs, fees, and sanctions for defending against the breach of contract and quantum meruit claims. The Jacobson group expressly stated that they did not claim fees for Sims's lien foreclosure claim. The district court awarded the Jacobson group $608.25 in costs and $33,306 in attorney fees under Idaho Code sections 12-120(3) and 12-121. The court awarded fees under Idaho Code section 12-120(3) because it found the Jacobson group was the prevailing party in an action arising from a commercial transaction. The district court also concluded that Sims brought and pursued his action frivolously, unreasonably, and without foundation under section 12-121. The court found the Jacobson group's requested attorney fees and costs were appropriate as to charge, reasonable as to time, and necessary.

On December 7, 2012, Sims timely filed his amended notice of appeal. Sims appealed the district court's (1) grant of summary judgment on the lien foreclosure claim; (2) denial of Sims's continuance motion at the quantum meruit hearing; and (3) award of attorney fees. After Sims submitted his opening brief and the Jacobson group submitted their response, Sims filed an Idaho Appellate Rule (" I.A.R." ) 32(b) Partial Voluntary Dismissal Motion asking this Court to dismiss his lien ...


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