SHANE R. DODGE and CHRISTINE L. DODGE, husband and wife, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
BONNERS FERRY POLICE DEPARTMENT, OFFICER WILLIAM COWELL and OFFICER BRANDON BLACKMORE, Defendants-Respondents.
from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State
of Idaho, Boundary County. Barbara A. Buchanan, District
Court order dismissing the complaint is affirmed.
and Christine Dodge, pro se appellants.
City Law Group, PLLC, Coeur d'Alene, for respondents.
ON THE BRIEFS
BURDICK, CHIEF JUSTICE.
R. and Christine L. Dodge appeal the Boundary County district
court's dismissal of their tort claim against the Bonners
Ferry Police Department, Sergeant William Cowell, and Officer
Brandon Blackmore for failure to file a notice of tort claim
pursuant to Idaho Code sections 6-610 et seq., and
for failure to post a bond prior to commencing their cause of
action. We affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
evening of June 17, 2018, Appellants Shane R. Dodge and his
wife Christine L. Dodge ("the Dodges") were
returning home with their son after having dinner together,
when they turned onto District Two Road and saw a police car
partially blocking their lane of travel.
that time, two Bonners Ferry police officers, Sergeant
William Cowell and Officer Brandon Blackmore, were conducting
a traffic stop of another vehicle. To avoid hitting them, Mr.
Dodge drove slowly by the two cars, and then pulled over
about four car-lengths away. He exited his car and approached
the police officers. He informed them that the location
"was a pretty stupid place to pull people over."
Sergeant Cowell instructed Mr. Dodge that he could be
arrested for obstruction or interfering with the traffic
stop, whereupon Mr. Dodge said, "go to hell." Mr.
Dodge was then arrested and placed in the back of the patrol
car. When she saw her husband being arrested, Mrs. Dodge
exited her car and attempted to approach and question the
officers. When she asked the officers why they were arresting
her husband, Sergeant Cowell told Officer Blackmore to arrest
her too, but Officer Blackmore ordered her to leave the
scene. Mr. Dodge was taken to the county jail and booked.
Thereafter, he posted bond and was released.
August 27, 2018, the Dodges filed suit against the Bonners
Ferry Police Department, Sergeant Cowell, and Officer
Blackmore ("Respondents"). The Dodges alleged that
on June 17, 2018: Mr. Dodge was arrested without probable
cause in violation of Idaho Code section 19-603; the officers
used excessive force in violation of Idaho Code section
19-610; the officers assaulted, battered, and falsely
imprisoned Mr. Dodge in violation of Idaho Code sections
18-901(a) and (b), 18-903(a)(b)(c), and 18-2901; the officers
falsified a police report in violation of Idaho Code section
18-3201; and the officers assaulted Mrs. Dodge in violation
of Idaho Code section 18-901(a) and (b). On the same day they
filed the complaint, the Dodges also filed a motion
requesting that the court waive the requirement in Idaho Code
section 6-610 that they post a bond before commencing the
September 24, 2018, Respondents filed an answer, admitting
several of the facts alleged by the Dodges but denying that
the officers had committed any wrongful act or violated any
of the Dodges' rights.
December 13, 2018, exactly 180 days after the Dodge's
claims arose, Respondents filed a motion to dismiss, alleging
that the Dodges failed to file notice of their tort claim or
post a bond prior to commencing their suit as required by
Idaho Code sections 6-908 and 6-610. Respondents also filed a
motion to shorten time, requesting the motion to dismiss be
heard on December 20, 2018 the same day several other motions
made by the Dodges were scheduled to be heard. The district
court granted the motion to shorten time the same day and set
the motion to dismiss to be heard on December 20, 2018.
hearing, Respondents argued the suit had to be dismissed
because the Dodges had failed to comply with the statutory
requirements for filing a tort claim against a government
entity. The Dodges moved for a continuance so they could
review Respondents arguments more fully. The court denied the
Dodges' motion for a continuance, explaining that:
[N]ormally I would grant you a continuance. But I've
reviewed the case law and [Respondents' counsel] and the
[Respondents] are absolutely right. If you haven't filed
a tort claim, you are - it has to be filed within 180 days of
the injury that you're suing over, the claims.
And that 180 days has not been - you can't fix that. So
there's no reason to grant you any more time.
The most recent case that I'm aware of in front of me,
it's an Idaho Supreme Court case, Allied Bail Bonds
versus Kootenai County. It was a First District case
involving - that was before Judge Mitchell in Kootenai
County, very similar. It had both of these issues.
And the Supreme Court held that complying with the Idaho Tort
Claims Act is a mandatory condition to bringing suit.
It's fatal to a claim no matter how legitimate the claim
may be or might not be.
And so I can't - granting you additional time there's
no way - if you haven't filed - if you didn't file
the tort claim it wouldn't do us - there's no point.
. . [U]nless you can tell me that you filed a notice of tort
claim, you are ...