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Thornton v. Pandrea

United States District Court, D. Idaho

January 5, 2018

JOHN F. THORNTON, Plaintiff/Counterdefendant,
MARY E. PANDREA, a single woman Individually and as Trustee of the Kari A. Clark and Mary E. Pandrea Revocable Trust u/a April 9, 2002; Defendant, and KENNETH J. BARRETT and DEANNA L. BARRETT, husband and wife, Defendants/Counterclaimants.




         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff/Counterdefendant John F. Thornton's Motion to Quash (Dkt. 5) as well as Defendants Kenneth J. Barrett and Deanna L. Barrett's (“the Barretts”) Motion to Dismiss and Remand to State Court (Dkt. 7). Having reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court decides the Motion on the record without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(2)(ii). For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Thornton's Motion to Quash and GRANTS the Barretts' Motion to Dismiss and Remand to State Court.


         On August 14, 2013, Thornton filed his Complaint against Mary E. Pandrea and Kari A. Clark in the State of Idaho, First Judicial District, Bonner County. Thornton's claims were for quiet title of an easement and a parcel of property owned by the Defendants referred to as the “Well Piece.”

         On September 3, 2013, Pandrea filed her Answer. On December 9, 2013, Clark filed her Answer, Affirmative Defenses, Counterclaims, and Demand for Jury Trial. Clark's counterclaims were for injunctive relief for interference with her easement rights and for quiet title.

         On November 7, 2013, Pandrea filed a Motion to Dismiss. Thornton opposed Pandrea's Motion. On January 6, 2014, the Court held a hearing on Pandrea's Motion, which the court treated as a motion for summary judgment. On January 14, 2014, the State Court issued its Order granting in part and denying in part Pandrea's Motion to Dismiss. As part of this decision, the State Court determined Thornton had not adversely possessed the Well Piece.

         On January 30, 2014, Clark filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on Thornton's claims and a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on her counterclaims. On April 9, 2014, the State Court entered its Order Granting Clark's Motion for Summary Judgment as to Claims of Plaintiff Thornton, and as to Clark's Counterclaims against Thornton. On April 18, 2014, Thornton and Clark stipulated to dismiss Clark's remaining claim for damages against Thornton. The State Court entered Judgment on these claims on April 30, 2014.

         Thornton and Pandrea stipulated to dismiss Thornton's claims against Pandrea and the Court granted an order of dismissal on May 21, 2014.

         On June 30, 2014, the State Court awarded costs and attorney fees to Clark, and awarded Rule 11 sanctions against Thornton and his attorney/wife, Val Thornton. The Court's Amended Judgment awarded Clark $41, 530.17 jointly and severally against John and Val Thornton. The Amended Judgment was recorded with the Bonner County Recorder on June 30, 2014.

         On June 30, 2014, Plaintiff filed his Notice of Appeal with the Idaho Supreme Court. Plaintiff's attorney/wife, Val Thornton, filed a joinder in the appeal in order to appeal the award of sanctions against her.

         On August 4, 2014, the State Court entered an order wherein it substituted Barretts in the stead of Clark.[1]

         The Idaho Supreme Court heard the Thorntons' appeal on August 31, 2016. On September 14, 2016, the Idaho Supreme Court issued its Opinion wherein it upheld the decisions of the State District Court, including the imposition of the Rule 11 sanctions against both the Thorntons in the amount of $41, 530.17. The Idaho Supreme Court additionally awarded attorney fees in the amount of $13, 386.76 to the Barretts under Idaho Code § 12-121 for having to defend against the Thorntons' frivolous appeal.

         Since obtaining their judgment against the Thorntons, the Barretts have made several attempts to execute on it, and it has been partially satisfied through these efforts. After a sheriff's sale was held on April 26, 2016, wherein the Barretts acquired the Well Piece (which the Thorntons acquired from Pandrea on October 23, 2014), the ...

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