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Swafford v. Huntsman Springs, Inc.

Supreme Court of Idaho

December 13, 2017

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

         2017 Opinion No. 125

         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 failed to comply with the Master Plan by essentially cutting off their property from the development. 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 limitations.

         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"). At the time of purchase, Huntsman Springs' promotional materials included a Master Plan, which indicated that the Property's east side would be bordered by a walk and bike path while its west side would be bordered by grass, trees, and a path or roadway. On September 21, 2007, the sale of the Property closed with the recording of a warranty deed.

         Between 2007 and 2008, Primrose Street, which bordered the west side of the Property, was paved, but the area between Primrose Street and the Property was improved by adding landscaping, a walking path, and trees. Thus, the Property did not have access to 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 Master Plan." The Swaffords alleged the following: (1) Huntsman Springs breached the Contract 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 marketing and sales ...


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