United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill U.S. District Court Judge.
Court has before it Defendants' Motions in Limine
regarding the scope of damages available to the Plaintiffs
(Dkts. 398, 471). Each Defendant moves separately for an
order precluding Plaintiffs from seeking emotional distress
or other nonpecuniary damages. Although the Defendants filed
separate motions in limine, they request the same relief, and
the Court will address both motions together. The motions are
fully briefed and at issue. For the reasons explained below,
the Court will deny Defendants' motions.
raise several arguments in support of their motions to
exclude evidence or argument of nonpecuniary damages. First,
Defendants both suggest that Plaintiffs' constructive
fraud claim is an “economic tort, ” and that
nonpecuniary damages should not be available to a plaintiff
claiming fraud. Dkt. 398 at 2-5; Dkt. 471 at 2-5. Defendant
Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) goes on to argue
that nonpecuniary damages, if available in a constructive
fraud case, should be limited to certain categories
previously recognized by the Idaho Supreme Court in
McGhee v. McGhee, 82 Idaho 367, 353 P.2d 760, 764
(1960); Dkt. 471-1 at 4-5. BSA also argues the scope of
damages should have a temporal limitation, specifically that
Plaintiffs should only be able to recover those damages
suffered after the fraud was discovered in 2013. Id.
at 5-8. For the reasons that follow, the Court rejects each
of Defendants' arguments and will deny the motions.
Nonpecuniary Damages Are Available to These
Defendants argue that Idaho law precludes nonpecuniary
damages in a constructive fraud action-arguments this Court
has already addressed and rejected. Defendants once again
point out that the Idaho Supreme Court has held that
“constructive fraud generally results in an economic
harm rather than personal injury.” Doe v. Boy
Scouts of Am., 159 Idaho 103, 106, 356 P.3d 1049, 1052
(2015). While this is “generally” true, it does
not preclude recovery for noneconomic damages where, as here,
the constructive fraud arises in a non-economic context.
See Doe v. Boy Scouts of Am., 329 F.Supp.3d 1168,
1179 (D. Idaho 2018), reconsideration denied sub nom.
Does I-XIX v. Boy Scouts of Am., No.
1:13-CV-00275-BLW, 2019 WL 1233618 (D. Idaho Mar. 15, 2019).
The Court has already considered this issue, and found that
when “a claim arises in the non-economic context, such
as a breach of trust rather than a breach of contract, it is
reasonable and foreseeable that the damages arising from that
breach would not be limited to economic loss.”
Id. The Defendants have not pointed the Court to any
new law or new evidence that has arisen since its prior
decision, and the Court declines to revisit it in the context
of these motions in limine.
Plaintiffs' Nonpecuniary Damages Are Not Limited to
Particular Predetermined Categories
BSA also argues that, to the extent the Court has relied on
McGhee to find nonpecuniary damages are available,
it should limit the extent of damages to exactly those
categories identified in that case. Dkt. 471-1 at 4-5. In
McGhee, the Idaho Supreme Court highlighted several
categories of nonpecuniary damages suffered by the plaintiff
as a result of the constructive fraud: “change of
single status, humiliation, disgrace, mental anguish, and
deprivation of that conjugal society, comfort, and attention
to which one is entitled by reason of the change from single
to marital status.” 82 Idaho at 373-74, 353 P.2d at
763-64. These categories are specific to the fraud
perpetrated on the plaintiff in McGhee, however, and
do not fit the facts of this case. The Idaho Supreme Court
acknowledged that such nonpecuniary damages are
“speculative” and “depend on the
circumstances of the particular case.” Id. at
374. The Court will not shoehorn categories of nonpecuniary
damages from a constructive fraud case between a married
couple into the claims at issue here. Accordingly, the Court
will deny Defendant BSA's request to limit nonpecuniary
damages to the categories specified in McGhee.
The Court Will Not Impose a Temporal Limit on Plaintiffs'
also attempt to limit the scope of Plaintiffs'
noneconomic damages to only those that “followed
Plaintiffs' discovery of the alleged fraud.” Dkt.
516 at 6-8; Dkt. 471-1 at 5-8. Both motions correctly point
out that in Idaho, “[t]he misrepresentation is the crux
of a fraud claim and the element that causes the
injury.” Hayes v. Kingston, 140 Idaho 551,
555, 96 P.3d 652, 656 (2004). But Defendants try to extend
this point to an illogical conclusion that the only
nonpecuniary damages Plaintiffs can pursue in this case
“are those resulting from the discovery of the alleged
misrepresentation in 2013.” Dkt. 471-1 at 8. Defendants
misunderstand the inquiry. The allegedly fraudulent
misrepresentations “that cause[d] the injury” in
this case occurred when Plaintiffs Does IV, XII, and XVIII
joined and participated in Boy Scout Troops in the 1960s and
70s, not when they discovered the IV files existed in 2013.
See generally Dkt. 336. That Plaintiffs did not know
about the IV Files, and thus discover the fraud until 2013
does not limit their damages to those suffered after that
date. Plaintiffs' discovery of the IV files meant the
statute of limitations began to run for their constructive
fraud claims, but it does not mean Plaintiff's damages
are somehow limited to those suffered after the date of
discovery. See Doe v. Boy Scouts of Am., 159 Idaho
at 111. Defendants have not pointed the Court to any law
suggesting it should limit Plaintiffs' damages to those
following the discovery of the IV files, and the Court
declines to do so.
accordance with the Memorandum Decision set forth above, NOW
THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Defendant Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Successors, & Corporation
of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints' Motion in Limine Re: Emotional