GREEN RIVER RANCHES, LLC, an Idaho Limited liability company, Plaintiff-Counterdefendant,
SILVA LAND COMPANY, LLC, et al., Defendants-Counterclaimants. JACK MCCALL, Plaintiff-Respondent,
MAX SILVA, an individual; Defendant-Appellant, and SILVA DAIRY, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company, Defendant. JACK MCCALL, Plaintiff,
SILVA LAND COMPANY, LLC, et al., Defendants. JACK MCCALL, an individual and doing business as JT LIVESTOCK, Plaintiff-Respondent,
MAX SILVA, Defendant-Appellant.
Opinion No. 52
from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District of the
State of Idaho, Twin Falls County. Hon. Randy J. Stoker,
judgment of the district court is affirmed.
Petersen Moss Hall & Olsen, Idaho Falls, for appellant.
Nathan Olsen argued.
Pursley LLP, Boise, for respondent. Bradley J. Dixon argued.
Silva appeals from the judgment of the district court in Twin
Falls County finding him personally liable for the purchase
of 116 dairy cows. This appeal is part of a consolidated
action brought by Jack McCall and Green River Ranches, LLC
(Green River) against Silva, Silva Dairy, LLC (Silva Dairy),
and Silva Land Company, LLC. After a bench trial, the
district court found Silva personally liable for the purchase
of the cows and dismissed the other claims against him. Silva
contends that the district court erred when it found him
personally liable for the purchase. Silva also argues that
the district court abused its discretion when it failed to
award him attorney fees proportionate to the claims on which
he prevailed at trial. We affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
consolidated action began as four separate lawsuits arising
from transactions involving a dairy operation. This appeal
focuses on the claims asserted by McCall against Silva
Dairy and Green River began working together in approximately
2009. Silva is a part owner of Silva Dairy and McCall is a
part owner of Green River. On August 18, 2010, Silva Dairy
filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. After Silva Dairy filed for
bankruptcy, McCall negotiated two transactions with Silva for
the sale of dairy cows. The first transaction was for 101
cows and the second was for fifteen cows. There was no
written agreement for either sale. The primary issue in this
appeal is whether McCall sold the cows to Silva in his
individual capacity or in his capacity as an agent of Silva
asserted claims against Silva for (1) mismanagement of
McCall's dairy herd; (2) conversion of McCall's
cattle feed; (3) pasture rent; (4) an unpaid loan for $10,
000; (5) damages for the sale of 15 cows; and (6) damages for
the sale of 101 cows. After a bench trial, the district court
held that Silva was not personally liable for the first three
claims because Silva Dairy was liable on those claims. As to
the fourth claim, the district court found that McCall lent
$10, 000 to Silva personally but that the loan was offset
against McCall's lease obligation to Silva Dairy. As to
the final two claims, the district court found that McCall
sold the cows to Silva personally and not to Silva Dairy. The
cost of the cows was not disputed and the district court
entered judgment in favor of McCall in the amount of $104,
770.55 plus prejudgment interest.
district court then found that that there was no prevailing
party in the action because each side had prevailed on some
claims and failed to prevail on others. Therefore, the
district court did not award attorney fees or costs. Judgment
was entered on July 16, 2015. Silva timely appealed.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court limits its review of a trial court's decision to
determining 'whether the evidence supports the findings
of fact, and whether the findings of fact support the
conclusions of law.' " City of Meridian v. Petra
Inc., 154 Idaho 425, 434-35, 299 P.3d 232, 241-42 (2013)
(quoting Shore v. Peterson, 146 Idaho 903, 907, 204
P.3d 1114, 1118 (2009)). "Unless the trial court's
findings of fact are clearly erroneous, they will not be set
aside." Id. at 435, 299 P.3d at 242. "A
district court's findings of fact in a court-tried case
are construed liberally on appeal in favor of the judgment
entered." Elec. Wholesale Supply Co., Inc. v.
Nielson, 136 Idaho 814, 820, 41 P.3d 242, 248 (2001).
"It is the province of the trier of fact to weigh
conflicting evidence and testimony and to judge the
credibility of the ...