GREGORY HULL, Plaintiff-Counterdefendant-Appellant-Cross Respondent,
RICHARD B. GIESLER and IDAHO TRUST DEEDS, LLC, Defendants-Counterclaimants-Respondents-Cross Appellants.
Opinion No. 11
from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District of the
State of Idaho, Twin Falls County. Hon. Randy J. Stoker,
judgment of the district court is affirmed.
W. Edson, Boise, and Terry Lee Johnson, Twin Falls, for
W. Edson argued.
Brothers Law Office, PLLC, Twin Falls, for respondents.
B. Wright argued.
Hull appeals the decision of the district court concerning
the allocation of development costs that he was required to
share with Richard Giesler and Idaho Trust Deeds, LLC. This
is the second appeal arising from a series of oral and
written agreements between these parties to exchange and
subdivide property. See Hull v. Giesler, 156 Idaho
765, 331 P.3d 507 (2014). As part of his challenge to the
district court's apportionment of development costs, Hull
claims that the district court erred by excluding testimony
from his expert witness, Greg Ruddell. Both parties request
an award of attorney fees on appeal. We affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
appeal arises from the second trial between these parties
relating to profit-sharing from the development of a
subdivision. Hull sold his interest in the subdivision to
Giesler for $200, 000. The first trial between the parties
established that Giesler was to develop the property, Hull
was obligated to reimburse him for a prorated share of the
development and other costs upon the sale of each remaining
lot, and that Hull was entitled to one-half of the net
profits from the sale of the remaining lots.
parties' oral agreement did not define the development
costs that would be shared by the parties. Thus, in the
second trial, the district court sought to identify and
reasonably allocate the development costs. In the course of
the trial, Hull attempted to present opinion testimony from
Ruddell as to which expenditures were reasonable development
costs. The district court did not permit the testimony,
finding that it was neither based on specialized knowledge
nor helpful to the court sitting as the finder of fact.
Following the trial, the district court ordered Hull to
reimburse Giesler for certain direct and indirect costs of
development. Hull timely appealed.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
review of a trial court's decision after a court trial is
limited to ascertaining 'whether the evidence supports
the findings of fact, and whether the findings of fact
support the conclusions of law.' " Griffith v.
Clear Lakes Trout Co., 143 Idaho 733, 737, 152 P.3d 604,
608 (2007) (quoting Idaho Forest Indus., Inc. v. Hayden
Lake Watershed Improvement Dist., 135 Idaho 316, 319, 17
P.3d 260, 263 (2000)). This Court will affirm a trial
court's findings of fact unless those findings are
clearly erroneous. Id.; I.R.C.P. 52(a)(7). Findings
of fact that are supported by substantial and competent
evidence are not clearly erroneous-even in the face of
conflicting evidence in the record. Kelly v. Wagner,
161 Idaho 906, 910, 393 P.3d 566, 570 (2017).
"Substantial and competent evidence is relevant evidence
which a reasonable mind might accept to support a
conclusion." Id. (quoting Lamar Corp. v.
City of Twin Falls, 133 Idaho 36, 42-43, 981 P.2d 1146,
1152-53 (1999). Finally, because of the trial court's
special role to weigh conflicting evidence and judge the
credibility of ...