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MFG Financial, Inc. v. Vigos

Supreme Court of Idaho

January 18, 2018

MFG FINANCIAL, INC., an Arizona corporation, Plaintiff-Respondent-Cross Appellant,
v.
JUSTIN VIGOS, an individual, Defendant-Appellant-Cross Respondent.

         2018 Opinion No. 9

         Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Gerald F. Schroeder, Senior District Judge.

         The decision of the district court is affirmed.

          Ballard Law, PLLC, Rexburg and Barkley Smith Law, PLLC, Boise, for appellant.

          Eberle, Berlin, Kading, Turnbow & McKlveen, Boise, for respondent.

          HORTON, Justice

         Justin Vigos appeals the decision of the district court in Ada County reversing an order from the magistrate court granting his motion for summary judgment against MFG Financial, Inc. (MFG). MFG initiated this action to recover damages from a breach of contract. In 2007, Vigos purchased a vehicle from Karl Malone Toyota. The contract was assigned to Courtesy Auto Credit (Courtesy). After some time, Vigos defaulted on the contract and the vehicle was repossessed and sold at auction. Courtesy then allegedly assigned the contract to MFG who initiated this action in 2015. After some discovery, the parties each filed a motion for summary judgment. The magistrate court granted Vigos's motion for summary judgment, finding that MFG had not presented sufficient admissible evidence to show that it was a real party in interest. MFG appealed to the district court. The district court reversed the decision of the magistrate court. Vigos appeals, arguing that the district court applied the wrong standard when it failed to first determine if evidence was admissible before considering it for purposes of summary judgment. MFG cross appeals, arguing that the district court erred when it failed to award it attorney fees on appeal. We affirm.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In 2001, Vigos entered into a contract to purchase a vehicle from Karl Malone Toyota. After selling the vehicle, Karl Malone Toyota assigned its rights in the contract to Courtesy. By 2009, Vigos was delinquent on his payments and the car was repossessed and sold at auction. After the sale of the vehicle, there was still a deficiency on the account. In 2014, Courtesy allegedly assigned its rights in the contract to MFG.

         MFG brought this action to collect on the contract in September 2015. After some discovery, each party filed a motion for summary judgment. Prior to the hearing on the motion for summary judgment, MFG filed a motion for continuance in the hopes that they would be able to depose Vigos before the hearing, as Vigos had previously been unavailable for deposition. The magistrate court declined to hear arguments on the motion to continue. After a hearing, the magistrate court granted Vigos's motion for summary judgment. The magistrate also granted Vigos attorney fees and costs of $16, 113.50.

         On April 25, 2016, MFG appealed the decision of the magistrate court granting summary judgment. The district court reversed the magistrate court's order granting Vigos's motion for summary judgment. In reversing the magistrate court, the district court held that MFG had presented sufficient evidence to show that there was a genuine issue of material fact about whether it was a real party in interest. Vigos timely appealed, arguing that the district court erred in reversing the decision of the magistrate court. MFG cross appealed, arguing that the district court erred when it failed to award it attorney fees on appeal.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

When this Court reviews the decision of a district court sitting in its capacity as an appellate court, the standard of review is as follows: "The Supreme Court reviews the trial court (magistrate) record to determine whether there is substantial and competent evidence to support the magistrate's findings of fact and whether the magistrate's conclusions of law follow from those findings. If those findings are so supported and the conclusions follow therefrom and if the district court affirmed the magistrate's decision, we affirm the district court's decision as a matter of procedure."

Pelayo v. Pelayo, 154 Idaho 855, 858, 303 P.3d 214, 217 (2013) (quoting Bailey v. Bailey, 153 Idaho 526, 529, 284 P.3d 970, 973 (2012)). "Thus this court does not review the decision of the magistrate court." Id. at 859, 303 P.3d at 218. "Rather, we are procedurally bound to affirm or reverse the decision of the district court." Id. (quoting Bailey, 153 Idaho at 529, 284 P.3d at 973). "In an appeal from an order granting summary judgment, this Court's standard of review is the same as that used by the trial court in ruling on the motion." Shea v. Kevic Corp., 156 Idaho 540, 544, 328 P.3d 520, 524 (2014) (quoting Summers v. Cambridge Joint Sch. Dist. No. 432, 139 Idaho 953, 955, 88 P.3d 772, 774 (2004)). Summary judgment is proper, ...


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