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Schmidt v. Huston

Supreme Court of Idaho

December 21, 2016

R. GORDON SCHMIDT, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
TIM HUSTON, Defendant-Respondent.

         2016 Opinion No. 148

         Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, in and for Ada County. Hon. Richard D. Greenwood, District Judge and Hon. D. Duff McKee, Senior District Judge.

         The judgment of the district court is affirmed.

          Anthony M. Shallat, Angstman Johnson, Boise, argued for appellant.

          Michelle R. Points, Points Law, PLLC, Boise, argued for respondent.

          EISMANN, Justice.

         This is an appeal out of Ada County from a judgment denying a claim for contribution on equitable principles in an action by one co-guarantor against another co-guarantor. One of two independent grounds for the district court's decision was not challenged on appeal, and we therefore affirm the judgment of the district court without addressing either ground.

         I. Factual Background.

         R. Gordon Schmidt and Tim Huston were two of the members of TRG Leasing, LLC. The company obtained a bank loan in the sum of $26, 000, and Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Huston each executed a guaranty of the loan. Mr. Schmidt ultimately paid the loan and brought this action against Mr. Huston and Robin Navert, another guarantor, to require them to pay their share. He settled with Ms. Navert for $5, 000, and his claim against Mr. Huston was tried to the district court. It ruled that under the facts it was inequitable to require Mr. Huston to pay any sum to Mr. Schmidt, and he timely appealed.

         The district court's findings of fact were as follows:

1. TRG Leasing, LLC was formed in July of 2007, with Schmidt, Robin Navert and Huston as members; Richard Navert was the non-member manager.
2. In October of 2007, TRG borrowed $26, 000 from Bank of the West. The bank apparently took an all-inclusive financing statement on all tangible assets of TRG, plus obtained separate personal guaranties from Schmidt, Huston, Robin Navert and RNR Enterprises.
3. Richard Navert was the non-member manager of TRG. He was also the CEO of RNR. The Naverts (Richard and Robin) owned approximately 86% of RNR; Schmidt owned approximately 10%; and Gary Navert, presumably Richard Navert's son, owned approximately 4%. There is no record that Huston was a stockholder in RNR.
4. Huston was an employee of RNR, managing some of its operations out of a location in Denver, Colorado. Navert ran the company from its headquarters in Boise, Idaho. Navert and Huston met from time to time in Denver on RNR business; Navert was often or frequently accompanied on these meetings by Schmidt.
5. In 2011, Huston was fired by Richard Navert and Gordon Schmidt. Huston understood this to mean that he had been terminated from any interest in or with RNR and TRG. Huston left Denver for the Midwest, and had no contact with Richard Navert, Robin Navert ...

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