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Swafford v. Huntsman Springs, Inc.

Supreme Court of Idaho

July 6, 2017

RONALD L. SWAFFORD and MARGARET SWAFFORD, husband and wife, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
HUNTSMAN SPRINGS, INC., an Idaho corporation, Defendant-Respondent.

         2017 Opinion No. 80

         Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Teton County. Hon. Gregory W. Moeller, District Judge.

         The district court's judgment in favor of Huntsman Springs is affirmed. Attorney fees and costs on appeal are awarded to Huntsman Springs.

          Swafford Law, PLLC, Idaho Falls, attorneys for appellant. Larren K. Covert argued.

          Moulton Law Office, Driggs, attorneys for respondent. Sean R. Moulton argued.

          JONES, Justice

         I. Nature of the Case

         In an appeal arising out of Teton County, Appellants, Ronald and Margaret Swafford (collectively, the "Swaffords"), challenge a district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Respondent Huntsman Springs, Inc. ("Huntsman Springs"). The action stems from the Swaffords' claim that Huntsman Springs essentially cut off their property from the development by building a park and planting trees between their lot and the nearby street and development, and in doing so: (1) breached a contract; (2) breached an express warranty; (3) breached their duty of good faith and fair dealing; (4) violated the Idaho Consumer Protection Act; and (5) made false representations. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Huntsman Springs after concluding that all of the Swaffords' claims were barred by the applicable statutes of limitation.

         II. Factual and Procedural Background

         Huntsman Springs is a 1, 350 acre development in Driggs, Idaho, that is planned to include 650 homes, a five-star hotel, and a golf course. Between 2006 and 2007, Huntsman Springs promoted its priority reservation program, which allowed prospective buyers to reserve an opportunity to purchase certain property sites. On July 16, 2007, during the infancy of the development, the Swaffords entered into a contract (the "Contract") with Huntsman Springs to purchase an undeveloped commercial site at "Lot 4, Block 50, Huntsman Springs PUD, Phase 1, Addition to the City of Driggs, Teton County, Idaho" (the "Property"). On July 20, 2007, Huntsman Springs recorded a plat (the "Plat") for the subdivision, and on September 21, 2007, the sale closed with the recording of the warranty deed. According to the Plat, the Property's east side would border Front Street. The Plat also indicated that an approximately fifty-foot-wide strip of grass, named "Park 3, " would separate the Property's west side from Primrose Street.

         Between 2007 and 2008, Primrose Street was paved. Additionally, the landscaping, walking path, and trees to the west of the Property, i.e., Park 3, were completed during that time. Park 3 separated the Property from Primrose Street.

         On August 20, 2014, Mr. Swafford wrote a letter to Huntsman Springs demanding

that the Master Plan be complied with, providing my lot with ingress and egress from Primrose as expected from the address. I also insist that the family walk and bike paths as well as trees be in place immediately. I hereby request immediate resolution of this issue. I request the area conform to the plans provided at the time of purchase."

         On July 17, 2015, the Swaffords filed a complaint wherein they claimed that Huntsman Springs "specifically intended for the [Swaffords] to rely on the Mater Plan." The Swaffords alleged the following: (1) Huntsman Springs breached the contract of sale by failing to comply with the Master Plan; (2) Huntsman Springs breached an express warranty that the Property would be developed and improved in accordance with the Master Plan; (3) Huntsman Springs breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing by failing to develop the Property in accordance with the Master Plan; (4) Huntsman Springs' unfair and deceptive ...


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