Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Garcia v. Absolute Bail Bonds, LLC

Supreme Court of Idaho

December 21, 2016

JOSE LUIS GARCIA and MARIA GARCIA, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
ABSOLUTE BAIL BONDS, LLC., and WALTER ALMARAZ, Defendants.

         2016 Opinion No. 150

         Appeal from the District Court of the Third Judicial District of the State of Idaho, in and for Canyon County. Hon. George A. Southworth, District Judge.

         The judgment of the district court is affirmed.

          Richard L. Hammond, Hammond Law Office, Caldwell, submitted a brief on behalf of the appellant.

          The respondent did not submit a brief on appeal.

          EISMANN, Justice.

         This is an appeal out of Canyon County from a judgment against a bail bondsman who revoked a bail bond for an illegal alien at the request of an agent of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The district court awarded damages in the amount of the bail bond premiums, and the appellants contend on appeal that they were entitled to additional damages. We affirm the judgment of the district court.

         I. Factual Background.

         On October 14 or 15, 2012, Jose Luis Garcia was arrested in Canyon County for driving under the influence of alcohol ("DUI"), and he was also arrested under an outstanding warrant issued in another case in which he was charged with petit theft and attempted petit theft. Mr. Garcia was thirty-one years of age and had entered the United States illegally when he was an adult. At about 8:30 a.m. on October 15, 2012, Maria Garcia, his mother, paid Walter Almaraz, a bail bondsman, to obtain bail bonds for the two cases. Mr. Almaraz was an agent of Absolute Bail Bonds, LLC. Prior to making the payment, Ms. Garcia informed Mr. Almaraz that Jose Garcia was an illegal alien and that she wanted him bonded out quickly before United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") placed a "hold" (immigration detainer) on him. Mr. Almaraz posted the bail bond in the petit theft case on October 15, 2012, and he posted the bail bond in the DUI case on the next day. He then received a telephone call from an ICE agent who told him to revoke the bail bonds, and Mr. Almaraz did so before Jose Garcia was released from jail. On October 17, 2012, ICE placed an immigration hold on him.

         Jose Garcia pled guilty to the petit theft charge on January 22, 2013, and he was sentenced the following week. The DUI charge was amended to driving under the influence of alcohol with an excessive alcohol concentration of 0.20. He pled guilty to that charge on December 21, 2012, and on March 18, 2013, he was sentenced. Upon completing the unsuspended portions of his jail sentences for petit theft and DUI, he was released from jail into the custody of ICE on May 3, 2013, and deported to Mexico.

         On May 2, 2013, Jose Garcia and Ms. Garcia filed this action against Mr. Almaraz and Absolute Bail Bonds, LLC, seeking to recover damages for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, failure to provide records and an accounting, and bad faith breach of contract. The Defendants were served with the summons and complaint and a request for admissions, but they did not appear in this action. On July 19, 2013, the Plaintiffs filed a motion for entry of default against them, and on December 13, 2013, the court entered their default. On November 12, 2013, the Defendants filed the affidavit of Ms. Garcia seeking a default judgment against the Defendants.

         The district court set the case for a hearing for entry of a default judgment on April 23, 2015. On the morning of the hearing, the Plaintiffs filed a motion seeking to amend their complaint to add a claim for punitive damages and a supporting affidavit of counsel. At the hearing, the court questioned the Plaintiffs' counsel about the claimed damages and took under advisement the motion to amend the complaint. On April 27, 2015, the Plaintiffs filed two additional affidavits seeking punitive damages and a judgment.

         On May 6, 2015, the district court issued its memorandum decision addressing the motion to amend and the amount of damages. The court denied the motion to amend the complaint to add a prayer for punitive damages, and it awarded damages of $3, 300.00, which it stated was the total amount of the premiums on the bail bonds.[1] The court found that the consequential damages claimed were not caused by the conduct of the Defendants. The court also awarded the Plaintiffs $2, 500.00 in attorney fees, which is the amount requested in the complaint if judgment was entered by default. On May 6, 2015, the court entered a judgment awarding the Plaintiffs damages against the Defendants in the sum of $5, 800, and the Plaintiffs timely appealed.

         II. Did the District Court Err in Denying the Motion for Recusal?

         "A motion to disqualify for cause must be accompanied by an affidavit of the party or the party's attorney stating the specific grounds upon which disqualification is based and the facts relied upon in support of the motion." I.R.C.P 40(b)(2). "An affidavit includes a written certification or declaration made as provided in Idaho Code section 9-1406." I.R.C.P. 2.7. Idaho Code section 9-1406 permits an affidavit to be a dated and signed "unsworn certification or declaration, in writing, which is subscribed by such person and is in substantially the following form: 'I certify (or declare) under penalty of perjury pursuant to the law of the State of Idaho that the foregoing is true and correct.' " On December 5, 2013, the Plaintiffs filed a motion to recuse the district court for cause. The only part of the motion that would qualify as an affidavit under the statute was the initial paragraph, which began:

The Plaintiff in the above entitled action, by and through his attorney of record, Richard Hammond, hereby respectfully requests this Honorable Court to recuse himself, be removed under IRCP 40(d)(2) or reconsider its position stated in chambers to deny consequential damages to a person due to his or her immigration status. AFFIDAVIT
Richard L. Hammond certifies and declares under penalty of perjury pursuant to the law of the state of Idaho that the foregoing is true and correct to ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.