United States District Court, D. Idaho
BEAR CREST LIMITED LLC, an Idaho limited liability company; YELLOWSTONE BEAR WORLD INC., an Idaho corporation; VELVET RANCH LLC, an Idaho limited liability company; MICHAEL D. FERGUSON, an Idaho resident, Plaintiffs,
STATE OF IDAHO; IDAHO TRANSPORATION DEPARTMENT, a department within the State of Idaho; MADISON COUNTY, a political subdivision of the State of Idaho, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Honorable Candy W. Dale United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court are Defendants' motions to dismiss.
(Dkt. 17, 18.) This case involves a road project that
Plaintiffs contend resulted in an unlawful taking of their
property and a denial of their rights to due process under
the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of
the United States. Plaintiffs claim also breach of contract
by Defendants based on alleged violations of deed
restrictions, as well as claims under the Constitution of the
State of Idaho. Defendants assert the complaint should be
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure
to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and
Bear Crest Limited LLC owns real property located in Madison
County, Idaho, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 20 and
Madison County Road 4300 West (the “Property”).
Bear Crest operates a tourist and entertainment attraction on
a portion of the Property, known as Yellowstone Bear World.
Until 2016, visitors to Yellowstone Bear World accessed the
Property from U.S. Highway 20 via a connection (the
“Intersection”) at Madison County Road 4300 West
(“Bear World Road”).
Intersection was constructed upon land formerly owned by the
Gideons, who deeded the land to the State of Idaho in
November of 1973 by warranty deed. The Gideon Deed was part
of a realignment that moved the point of the Intersection
north on Highway 20. The Gideon Deed expressly reserved to the
grantors: “Access to the County Road Connection.”
Plaintiffs claim that the reservation of rights in the Gideon
Deed created an easement or contract right in favor of the
owner of the Property. Bear Crest, as the successor in
interest to the Gideons, owns the Property and all access
rights and easements related thereto. Plaintiffs claim the
financial success of Yellowstone Bear World depends upon the
continued existence of the Intersection at the location set
forth in the Gideon Deed.
2016, Defendants converted U.S. Highway 20 into a controlled
access road and, in doing so, closed the Intersection and
terminated access to the county road connection from Bear
World Road. Plaintiffs allege that, as a result of the
closure of the Intersection, access to Bear Crest's
Yellowstone Bear World attraction and to the Property from
U.S. Highway 20 as set forth in the Gideon Deed was taken,
and was otherwise substantially impaired. Plaintiffs claim
that the closure of the Intersection and the substantial
impairment of and unreasonable access to the Property has
caused Bear Crest to suffer damages, which include losses to
its business and to the fair market value of the Property.
Complaint includes four claims for relief as follows: (1)
inverse condemnation under Article I Section 14 of the Idaho
Constitution and the Fifth Amendment to the United
States Constitution; (2) violation of Plaintiffs'
substantive due process rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 and Article I, Section 13 of the Idaho Constitution; (3)
violation of Plaintiffs' procedural due process rights
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Article I, Section 13
of the Idaho Constitution; and (4) breach of contract based upon
violation of the Gideon deed restriction.
the motions were pending, the United States Supreme Court
issued its decision in Knick v. Twp. of Scott,
Pennsylvania, 139 S.Ct. 2162, 2164 (June 21, 2019),
which overruled the state litigation requirement of
Williamson Cnty. Regional Planning Comm'n v. Hamilton
Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985). As a result,
the Court conducted a telephonic status conference with the
parties on July 8, 2019, to discuss the impact of
Knick upon Plaintiffs' takings claim in count
one of the Complaint. During that conference, Defendants
conceded that, pursuant to Knick, they no longer
have a basis upon which to request dismissal of count one of
the complaint based upon Williamson. However, the
State of Idaho and the Idaho Transportation Department
reserved their assertion of immunity from suit under the
Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, as
asserted also in their motion to dismiss. (Dkt. 17.)
upon the parties' representation that Knick
controls, the Court will confine its analysis to the State
Defendants' Eleventh Amendment immunity argument;
Plaintiffs' due process claims and state constitutional
claims; and the state law claim for breach of contract.
Motion to Dismiss Standard
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, ” in order to “give the
defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While a complaint
attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss “does not
need detailed factual allegations, ” it must set forth
“more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Id. at 555. To survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. A claim
has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged. Id. at 556. The plausibility standard is
not akin to a “probability requirement, ” but it
asks for more than a sheer ...