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Estate of Ekic v. Geico Indemnity Co.

Supreme Court of Idaho

June 27, 2018

ESTATE OF ALDINA EKIC, decedent, and IBRAHIM EKIC and HALIDA EKIC, parents and sole beneficiaries of decedent, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
GEICO INDEMNITY COMPANY, a Maryland corporation, Defendant-Respondent.

          Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, in and for Ada County. Hon. Melissa Moody, District Judge.

         The judgment of the district court is affirmed.

          Kreis Law Offices, Boise, for Appellants. Kenneth O. Kreis argued.

          Perkins, Mitchell, Pope & McAllister, LLP, Boise, for Respondent. Richard L. Stubbs argued.

          BURDICK, Chief Justice.

         Ibrahim and Halida Ekic (the Ekics) and the estate of Aldina Ekic appeal from the decisions of the Ada County district court to grant summary judgment to Geico Indemnity Company (Geico) on their claims of breach of contract, misrepresentations in the inducement, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and promissory estoppel and to award attorney fees to Geico. Geico requests attorney fees on appeal under Idaho Code section 41-1839.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Aldina Ekic purchased insurance from Geico in June 2013, with additional underinsured motorist coverage in the amount of $25, 000. The Automobile Policy Amendment to the policy defines an "underinsured motor vehicle" as: "a motor vehicle insured under a motor vehicle liability policy but insured for an amount that is less than the underinsured motorist limits carried on the motor vehicle of the injured person."

         Aldina was killed in an automobile accident caused by the negligence of a third party. The Ekics recovered the total policy proceeds of $25, 000 from the third party's insurance carrier. The Ekics demanded payment from Geico for the payment of $25, 000 under Aldina's underinsured motorist policy. Geico refused to issue a payment under the language of the policy.

         The Ekics filed suit, alleging three causes of action against Geico: breach of contract, misrepresentation in the inducement, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Sometime after Geico filed an answer, Geico filed a motion for summary judgment with a supporting affidavit from Geico's counsel that included a copy of the Ekics' answers to several interrogatories, a copy of Aldina's Geico policy, and the vehicle collision report for the accident involving Aldina and the third party. The district court granted summary judgment for Geico on each of these claims on May 16, 2016.

         The Ekics then amended their complaint, with the permission of the district court, to add the additional claim of promissory estoppel and Geico filed an amended answer. Counsel for Geico advised the district court during a scheduling conference that Geico would be filing a motion for summary judgment on the additional claim and filed this motion on December 14, 2016.

         Shortly before the hearing on Geico's second summary judgment motion, the Ekics filed a motion to continue the hearing. The district court denied this motion-finding that the Ekics had not shown good cause for a continuance. At the hearing, the district court granted Geico's motion for summary judgment because the court found that "even viewing all the facts in light most favorable to the Plaintiff, there was no admissible evidence to support" their claim. The Ekics filed a motion to set aside the judgment which was denied by the district court. Geico requested attorney fees and the district court awarded them pursuant to Idaho Code section 41-1839(4). The Ekics timely appealed.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         When reviewing a district court's grant of summary judgment, this Court applies the same standard of review as the district court in ruling upon the motion. Bedard & Musser v. City of Boise City, 162 Idaho 688, 689, 403 P.3d 632, 633 (2017). "The court must grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." I.R.C.P. 56(a). "The court will consider 'pleadings, depositions, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if ...


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