WHITNEY L. BRIGHT, Plaintiff-Appellant,
ROMAN MAZNIK and NATALYA K. MAZNIK, husband and wife, Defendants-Respondents, and JAMES R. THOMAS and KATHERINE L. THOMAS, Defendants.
Opinion No. 69
from the District Court of the Third Judicial District, State
of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. Thomas J. Ryan, District Judge.
court judgment, affirmed.
Keane, Boise, for appellant. Jed W. Manwaring argued.
Montgomery Law Offices, Boise, for respondents. Gary L.
BURDICK, Chief Justice.
L. Bright appeals from the Canyon County district court's
grant of summary judgment to Roman and Natalya Maznik. The
Mazniks are property owners who leased an apartment to James
and Katherine Thomas, owners of a Belgian Shepherd. When
Bright visited the Thomas' apartment in an effort to
collect on a debt, the Thomas' dog attacked her. Bright
then lodged a complaint against the Mazniks, alleging various
tort claims arising from the attack. The district court
granted the Mazniks' motion for summary judgment, and we
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Mazniks are owners and landlords of residential rental
properties located in Canyon County. In November 2005, the
Mazniks hired Cashflow Management (Cashflow) to manage their
rentals. Cashflow, as property manager, ensures that the
Mazniks' rentals are habitable, handles everyday
maintenance, solicits and screens prospective tenants, leases
the rentals, and makes monthly, in-person visits to the
rentals to collect rent.
August 2008, the Thomases applied to lease an apartment from
the Mazniks. On their rental application, the Thomases
disclosed that they had a "B.
Shepherd" that weighed
thirty-five pounds. Cashflow reviewed the Thomas' rental
application. As part of that review, Cashflow contacted the
Thomas' former landlord to ask about "dog
issues"-i.e., whether the dog was a problem,
had damaged the property, or ever caused excessive noise.
Cashflow could not recall the details of that conversation,
but apparently no concerns arose because Cashflow approved
the Thomas' application. When concerns did arise in the
application review process, Cashflow explained that those
issues were noted on the application and rejection would
routinely rented to dog owners, and so the Thomas' dog
did not cause concern. Cashflow explained that it rented to
dog owners because:
[W]e have gone [sic] through a phase in our company where we
did try to put people who didn't have pets in. And [we]
found that after the fact people move pets in, anyway. Then
it was difficult to collect on pet deposits and it was
difficult to enforce the lease. And to avoid having that
headache we became more liberal.
sure, as a property management company, Cashflow
"honor[ed] what the owners want." But the Mazniks
were flexible and "left that judgment up to
January 21, 2014, neither the Mazniks nor Cashflow ever
received any complaints about the Thomas' dog. That day,
however, the Thomas' dog attacked Bright when she visited
the Thomas' apartment concerning a debt Mr. Thomas owed.
The Thomas' dog lunged past Mr. Thomas when he answered
the door, biting Bright on her arm and leg. Bright eventually
retreated inside the Thomas' apartment until Mr. Thomas
could place the dog under control.
September 2014, Bright sued the Thomases and the Mazniks,
alleging various tort claims. She obtained a $25, 000 default
judgment against the Thomases. The Mazniks, by contrast,
moved for and obtained summary judgment. Bright brings this
ISSUES ON APPEAL
the district court err by granting summary judgment to the
Mazniks on ...