JEANETTE HOFFMAN, DON THOMAS, MARI THOMAS, BRIAN NELSON, LOUISE LUSTER, LYNDA SNODGRASS, LANCE HALE, MONIQUE HALE, ROXANNE METZ, AL THORNTON, TONI THORNTON, BLAIR HAGERMAN, DARRIN HENDRICKS, LESLIE CURFMAN, MIKE ZEHNER, JOSE FRANCA, KAREN CROSBY, CHUCK BOYER, and KIM BLOUGH, individuals, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
THE BOARD OF THE LOCAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1101, an Idaho Local Improvement District; and BOARD OF ADA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, Defendants-Respondents.
Opinion No. 153
from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of
the State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Timothy Hansen, District
judgment of the district court is affirmed.
& Steele Law Offices, PLLC, Boise, for appellants.
Troxell Ennis & Hawley LLP, Boise, for respondents.
ON THE BRIEFS
Hoffman, Don Thomas, Mari Thomas, Brian Nelson, Louise
Luster, Lynda Snodgrass, Lance Hale, Monique Hale, Roxanne
Metz, Al Thornton, Toni Thornton, Blair Hagerman, Darrin
Hendricks, Leslie Curfman, Mike Zehner, Jose Franca, Karen
Crosby, Chuck Boyer, and Kim Blough (collectively
"Appellants") appeal from the district court's
denial of their motion for summary judgment and grant of
summary judgment in favor of the Board of the Local
Improvement District No. 1101 and the Ada County Board of
Commissioners (the Boards) in a case regarding assessments
levied on properties within the Sage Acres Local Improvement
District. Appellants also appeal from the district
court's award of attorney fees to the Boards. We affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
County Ordinance No. 780 established the Ada County Local
Improvement District No. 1101, commonly known as Sage Acres
Local Improvement District (LID). The ordinance was adopted
on May 10, 2011. The purpose of the LID was to construct a
water delivery system for residential and irrigation use by
properties within the Sage Acres Subdivision (Sage Acres),
located off of Old Horseshoe Bend Road in Boise, Idaho. The
water system was completed in 2014. Appellants challenged the
creation of the LID and Ada County Ordinance No. 809, which
confirmed the assessments levied on properties affected by
September 18, 2013, Appellants filed a Notice of Appeal from
Assessments in Ada County district court. The district court
entered its Order Governing Proceedings and Setting Trial.
The district court set the matter for trial on March 9, 2014,
and ordered the parties to mediate no later than 90 days
prior to trial. Prior to mediation, on December 11, 2014, the
Boards filed a motion for summary judgment which asserted
that Appellants' claims were not legally or factually
supported. The district court scheduled the summary judgment
motion for hearing on January 27, 2015.
December 22, 2014, Appellants and the Boards engaged in
mediation before Senior Judge D. Duff McKee. At the
conclusion of the mediation, Judge McKee prepared a
handwritten Memorandum of Settlement:
County & LID will pay its own litigation costs &
fees, and waive any claim against Appellants for costs &
All parties to stipulate to dismissal of all claims, with
prejudice and without fees and costs.
Appellant property owners to be responsible for LID
assessment fees as originally billed, plus accrued interest.*
Appellants to pay their own legal costs & fees including
their ½ of mediation fee.
*Property owner to be provided w/current statement of amounts
due as of 10/1/14 including interest; Owner to have 30 days
from date of close on this agreement to pay off the LID plus
interest, or to pay the annual installment, plus annual
interest, (plus security fund deposit if required.)
and representatives for Appellants and the Boards signed the
Memorandum of Settlement.
the mediation, counsel for the parties exchanged drafts of
proposed formal settlement agreements. No formal settlement
agreement was signed because the Boards insisted that the
agreement include a release of Appellants' claims against
the Boards and their agents and employees and Appellants were
unwilling to execute such a release.
January 14, 2015, Appellants filed a Notice of Settlement of
Appeal and Appellants' Motion to Dismiss Appeal with
Prejudice. Appellants argued that the district court should
enforce the terms of the Memorandum of Settlement. On January
26, 2015, the day before the hearing on the Boards'
motion for summary judgment, Appellants filed a Motion for
Order Shortening Time on Appellants' Motion to Dismiss
Appeal. Appellants argued that the settlement rendered the
Boards' motion for summary judgment moot and the district
court should instead take up their motion to dismiss their
appeal. The following day, the district court held a hearing
on the various motions.
the hearing, the district court determined that
Appellants' Motion to Dismiss Appeal with Prejudice would
be treated as a motion for summary judgment to enforce the
settlement agreement. The district court set a new hearing
date of March 12, 2015, and instructed the parties to provide
briefing regarding Appellants' motion. The district court
further instructed Appellants to submit arguments in response
to the Boards' motion for summary judgment.
March 11, 2015, Appellants filed a Notice of Non-Opposition
to Respondent's [sic] Motion for Summary Judgment,
The Appellants hereby notify the Court and opposing counsel
that, consistent with the Appellants' contention that
this matter settled at mediation on December 22, 2014, and in
furtherance of their desire to not incur the significant
expenses associated with a trial on this matter, they do not
oppose Respondent's [sic] request that this appeal be
Appellants' decision to decline to oppose the
Respondent's [sic] request for dismissal does not,
however, have any bearing on the reasonableness of the legal
or factual grounds for the appeal itself, and Appellants will
outline those grounds in the event that their own motion for
summary judgment is not granted and/or if Respondent [sic]
moves for an award of attorney's fee or costs beyond the
costs specifically allowed by I.C. § 50-1718.
March 12, 2015, the district court held a hearing on the
parties' motions for summary judgment. During the
hearing, the district court clarified the effect of