Opinion No. 84
from the District Court of the Second Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Lewis County. Hon. Gregory Fitzmaurice,
court order granting summary judgment, affirmed.
Carpenter Law Firm, Missoula, MT, for appellant. Charles H.
Johnson Law Group, Spokane, WA, for respondents. Peter J.
BURDICK, Chief Justice.
Krinitt, Sr. (Krinitt) appeals the Lewis County district
court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the State
of Idaho and the Department of Fish and Game (IDFG). The
district court ruled that IDFG was a statutory employer under
the Idaho Worker's Compensation Act and, consequently,
IDFG was entitled to immunity from actions based on the
work-related death of Perry Krinitt, Jr. (Perry). We affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
a pilot for Leading Edge Aviation, died when the helicopter
he was piloting crashed on August 31, 2010, in Kamiah, Idaho.
Krinitt v. Idaho Dep't of Fish and Game, 159
Idaho 125, 126, 357 P.3d 850, 851 (2015). Perry was flying
IDFG employees Larry Bennett and Danielle Schiff to conduct a
fish survey on the Selway River. Id. Bennett and
Schiff died in the crash as well. Id. at 127, 357
P.3d at 852. An investigation revealed that the accident was
caused when a clipboard struck the tail rotor. Id.
Evidence was that one of the passengers became sick and
opened the helicopter door, dropping the clipboard in the
August 30, 2012, Krinitt filed a wrongful death suit based in
negligence seeking damages against IDFG for Perry's
death. On October 22, 2012, IDFG filed its answer. In its
answer, IDFG did not assert statutory immunity under
Idaho's Worker's Compensation Act as a defense.
Thereafter, the district court entered a scheduling order
dated February 14, 2013, which stated: "Dispositive
motions shall be filed by January 31, 2014." IDFG filed
a motion for summary judgment on January 31, 2014. In support
of its motion, IDFG did not raise the issue of statutory
immunity; rather, IDFG moved for summary judgment on the
basis that Krinitt could not prove negligence. The district
court granted the motion and Krinitt appealed.
appeal, this Court determined that a reasonable jury could
conclude that the accident was the result of IDFG's
negligence and reversed and remanded the case to district
court. Krinitt, 159 Idaho at 127-31, 357 P.3d at
852-56. Following remand, the district court ordered the
parties to mediation. On March 21, 2016, after a failed
mediation attempt, and after the date set for the filing of
dispositive motions, IDFG filed another motion for summary
judgment on the basis of statutory immunity.
opposed the motion, arguing: (1) IDFG was not Perry's
statutory employer and therefore did not qualify for
statutory immunity; and (2) even if IDFG was Perry's
statutory employer, IDFG had waived its statutory immunity
defense by failing to timely plead it. After a hearing, the
district court granted IDFG's motion for summary
judgment, ruling that IDFG did not waive its right to assert
statutory immunity as a defense, and, as a statutory
employer, IDFG was immune from suit under Idaho's
Worker's Compensation Act. However, under Idaho Rule of
Civil Procedure 16(i),  the district court also imposed sanctions
on IDFG for filing its March 21, 2016, summary judgment
motion after the January 31, 2014, deadline for filing
dispositive motions set in the scheduling order. Krinitt
timely appeals the grant of summary judgment in favor of
IDFG. IDFG appeals the district court's imposition of
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court's review of a trial court's ruling on a motion
for summary judgment is the same standard used by the trial
court in originally ruling on the motion." Robison
v. Bateman-Hall, Inc., 139 Idaho 207, 209, 76 P.3d 951,
953 (2003) (citations omitted). The Idaho Rules of Civil
Procedure state that summary judgment shall be rendered when
"the pleadings, depositions, and admissions on file,
together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving
party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."
I.R.C.P. 56(c). "If the
evidence reveals no disputed issues of material ...