MELINDA DEITER and JOSEPH DEITER, individually, and as parents and natural guardians of MELINDA ROBERTS and GIDEON DEITER, minors, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
DONALD COONS, SHARON COONS, and PENNY COONS dba DON'S MEATS, and PATTY A. ANDERSON, Defendants-Respondents, and JANAK, INC., and DONALD JANAK, Defendants.
Opinion No. 41
from the District Court of the Third Judicial District of the
State of Idaho, in and for Gem County. Hon. Juneal C.
Kerrick, District Judge.
judgment of the district court is affirmed.
L. Olsen, Pritzker Olsen, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota,
argued for appellants.
Stanley J. Tharp, Eberle, Berlin, Kading, Turnbow &
McKlveen, Chtd., Boise, argued for respondents Donald Coons,
Sharon Coons, and Penny Coons.
R. Kraft, Moore & Elia, LLP, Boise, argued for respondent
an appeal out of Gem County from a judgment dismissing claims
against the person who sold a steer for slaughter that was
later contaminated with E. coli bacteria by the slaughterer
and against the persons to whom the slaughterer delivered the
carcass for processing into packages of meat. We affirm the
judgment of the district court.
Anderson agreed to sell a 4-H steer for her eighteen-year-old
granddaughter Danielle Bryant, who had purchased and raised
the steer. Ms. Anderson placed an ad on Craigslist, and
Joseph Deiter responded to the ad, but he only wanted to
purchase one-half of the steer. He and Ms. Anderson
communicated regarding various issues, and she ultimately
prepared a handwritten contract ("Deiter
Contract"), which they both signed. The contract
This is a contract iniated [sic] on Aug. 14, 2010 between
Patty A. Anderson and Joseph and Melinda Deiter . . .
A deposit of $100.00 (check # 1178) has been received by
Patty A. Anderson for 1/2 of a beef in (carcass weight). Once
the beef has been killed and delivered to Don's Meat in
Emmett, ID, the carcass weight will be known and Sharon Coons
(owner of Don's Meat) will tell us what that weight is.
At that time Joseph and Melinda Deiter will pay me (Patty
Anderson) the amount of $2.25 lb for 1/2 the beef. When the
meat has been cut wrapped by Don's Meat Joseph and
Melinda Deiter will pay Sharon Coons 45¢ lb for that
service and will pick up their half of the beef.
Mr. Deiter had paid the $100.00 deposit and returned the
signed contract, Ms. Anderson then had to find someone who
was willing to purchase the other half of the steer before it
was slaughtered. She placed another ad on Craigslist seeking
a purchaser for the other half of the steer. A Mrs. Kirk
responded to that ad, paid a $100.00 deposit, and signed a
handwritten contract dated August 17, 2010, that had been
prepared by Ms. Anderson.
Anderson contacted Donald Janak, who along with his wife own
Janak, Inc., a mobile slaughtering business. He was asked to
slaughter the steer on behalf of Mr. Deiter and Mrs. Kirk and
to deliver the carcass to Don's Meats, which was a custom
meat processing business that was owned and operated by
Donald and Sharon Coons and their daughter Penny Coons. Mr.
Janak and an employee of Janak, Inc., went to Ms.
Anderson's property, where Ms. Anderson's ex-husband
delivered possession of the steer to Mr. Janak. Mr. Janak and
the employee slaughtered and skinned the steer, cut the
carcass in half down the middle, and delivered the two halves
of the carcass to Don's Meats, where the meat was
processed. Mr. Deiter's half of the carcass was processed
first, and then Mrs. Kirk's half of the carcass was
processed. Ms. Anderson paid Mr. Janak's fee. Mr. Deiter
and Mrs. Kirk informed Don's Meats how they each wanted
their respective halves of the carcass butchered and wrapped,
and they each picked up their respective quantities of
cut-and-wrapped meat from Don's Meats. Each package of
meat was marked "Not for Sale." After eating the
meat, the members of the Deiter family became ill due to
becoming infected with E. coli bacteria.
January 9, 2012, the Deiters filed this action against Ms.
Anderson, Mr. Janak and his corporation, and the Coonses. Ms.
Anderson filed a motion for summary judgment as to the claims
against her, and, after briefing and argument, the district
court granted her motion. The Deiters filed a motion for
reconsideration, but the court denied their motion. The
Coonses moved for summary judgment as to the claims against
them and, after briefing and argument, the district court
granted their motion. The Deiters settled with Mr. Janak and
Janak, Inc., and they appealed the judgment in favor of Ms.
Anderson and the Coonses. After oral argument, this Court
requested that the parties submit additional briefing on the
issue of when title to the steer passed under the Uniform
Commercial Code, and the parties did so.
the District Court Err in Granting Summary Judgment to Ms.
their complaint, the Deiters alleged various theories of
liability against Ms. Anderson, but the only theory they
argue on appeal is that she was negligent per se for
violating the Federal Meat Inspection Act, specifically 21
U.S.C. § 610(c). They argued to the district court that
she violated the act because she sold adulterated meat; the
steer was slaughtered under insanitary conditions; and she
did not sell, slaughter, or prepare the steer for her own
use. On appeal, the Deiters argue additional alleged
violations of the Act that they contend would be a basis for
a finding of negligence per se. Because those additional
theories were not argued in the district court, we will not
consider them on appeal. "An appellant is bound by the
issues and theories upon which the case was tried below.
Although a judgment may be sustained upon any legal theory, a
new theory cannot be employed on appeal to attack the
judgment." Clements Farms, Inc. v. Ben Fish &
Son, 120 Idaho 185, 207, 814 P.2d 917, 939 (1991).
Deiters argued to the district court that Mr. Anderson was
negligent per se for violating section 610(c) of the Act,
No person, firm, or corporation shall, with respect to any
cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, or other equines,
or any carcasses, parts of carcasses, meat or meat food
products of any such animals-
(c) Sales, transportation, and other transactions sell,
transport, offer for sale or transportation, or receive for
transportation, in commerce, (1) any such articles which (A)
are capable of use as human food and (B) are adulterated or
misbranded at the time of such sale, transportation, offer
for sale or transportation, or receipt for transportation; or
(2) any articles required to be inspected under this
subchapter unless they have been so inspected and passed . .
order to violate this provision, Ms. Anderson would have had
to "sell, transport, offer for sale or transportation,
or receive for transportation, [the described articles] in
commerce." When initially enacted, the Act did not apply
to intrastate transactions. The word "commerce" was
defined to mean only interstate transactions. 21 U.S.C.
§ 601(h). The Act was later amended to permit the
Secretary of Agriculture to designate a State as one in which
the Act applies to operations and transactions wholly within
the State if it has failed to develop or is not enforcing
requirements equal to those imposed by the Act. 21 U.S.C.
§ 661(4)(c)(1). The Secretary designated Idaho as
subject to the Act in 1981. Designation of the State of
Idaho under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, 46 Fed.
Reg. 28837-01 (May 29, 1981). Years later, the Idaho
Legislature repealed Idaho's meat inspection laws. Ch.
94, § 1, 2006 Idaho Sess. Laws, 267, 267. Therefore, the
district court erred in holding that the Act only applied to
interstate transactions. "When the trial court reaches
the correct result by an erroneous theory, we will affirm the
result on the correct theory." Stapleton v. Jack
Cushman Drilling & Pump Co. Inc., 153 Idaho 735,
740, 291 P.3d 418, 423 (2012).
Anderson was acting as an agent for her granddaughter
throughout these transactions. There is a factual dispute as
to whether Mr. Deiter was so informed, but that dispute is
immaterial. Being an agent of an undisclosed principal would
make her liable on the contract, Agrisource, Inc. v.
Johnson, 156 Idaho 903, 908, 332 P.3d 815, 820 (2014),
but in this case it does not change the analysis with respect
Anderson was not liable because under the Idaho Uniform
Commercial Code, title to the steer passed to Mr. Deiter and
Mrs. Kirk when possession was transferred to Mr. Janak. The
Deiters contend that they did not purchase the steer; they
only purchased the meat that was to be derived from the
steer. They argue that the contract uses the word
"beef," which means the meat from the steer, not
the steer itself. The word "beef" can mean
"the flesh of a cow, steer, or bull raised and killed
for its meat" or "an adult cow, steer, or bull
raised for its meat." Random House, Inc.
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/beef (accessed: March 28,
2017). The Deiter Contract unambiguously used the word
"beef" to mean an adult steer raised for meat.
contract stated that Mr. Deiter purchased "1/2 of a beef
in (carcass weight)." It was one-half of
"a beef" that he contracted to purchase.
(Emphasis added.) The use of the singular "a"
indicates that he purchased one-half of an object. The
contract then states, "Once the beef has been killed and
delivered to Don's Meat in Emmett, ID, the carcass weight
will be known . . . ." Only something living could be
killed. The steer was living, the meat later derived from the
carcass was not living and could not be killed. The words
"the beef" could only refer to the "beef"
in the preceding sentence, which is the one-half of a beef
that Mr. Deiter contracted to purchase. Selling a live steer
that is to be butchered and sold by carcass weight does not
indicate that it is only the resulting processed meat that is
being sold. Therefore, the contract unambiguously states that
Mr. Deiter purchased one-half of the steer that was to be
killed and that the purchase price was to be determined based
upon the carcass weight of the steer after it was slaughtered
and delivered to Don's Meats.
Code section 28-2-401(2) provides, insofar as is relevant,
"Unless otherwise explicitly agreed title passes to the
buyer at the time and place at which the seller completes his
performance with reference to the physical delivery of the
goods . . . ." There was no explicit agreement that
title to the steer would pass at any time other than when Ms.
Anderson completed her performance with reference to the
physical delivery of the steer. Therefore, title passed when
she completed that performance.
Code section 28-2-308(a) states that unless otherwise agreed
"the place for delivery of goods is the seller's
place of business or if he has none his residence." It
is undisputed that Mr. Janak went to Ms. Anderson's
residence where the steer was being held to take possession
of the steer so he could slaughter it. Upon taking possession
of the steer, Mr. Janak and the employee slaughtered it and
then delivered the steer carcass to Don's Meats.
the Deiter Contract, it is clear that the carcass was to be
delivered to Don's Meats. The contract states, "Once
the beef has been killed and delivered to Don's Meat in
Emmett, ID, the carcass weight will be known and Sharon Coons
(owner of Don's Meat) will tell us what that weight
is." Ms. Anderson instructed Mr. Janak that after he had
slaughtered the steer, he was to deliver the steer carcass to
Don's Meats. Mr. Deiter and Mrs. Kirk became owners of
the steer when Mr. Janak took possession of it. At that point
Ms. Anderson had "complete[d] h[er] performance with
reference to the physical delivery of the goods." I.C.
the Uniform Commercial Code, there are two types of sales
contracts when a carrier is used to transport the goods sold:
(1) 'shipment' contracts; and (2)
'destination' contracts." 67 Am. Jur. 2d
Sales § 479 (2014) (footnotes omitted). Idaho
Code section 28-2-401 sets forth when title passes under
shipment and destination contracts. It states:
(a)if the contract requires or authorizes the seller to send
the goods to the buyer but does not require him to deliver
them at destination, title passes to the buyer at ...