EAGLE SPRINGS HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., Plaintiff-Respondent,
JAN RODINA, Defendant-Appellant.
from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Ada County. Lynn G. Norton, District Judge.
decision of the district court is affirmed.
Colborn PLLC, Boise, for appellant. Gary Neal argued.
Fotheringham LLP, Boise, for respondent. Christopher Tingey
BURDICK, CHIEF JUSTICE.
appeal involves a dispute between the Eagle Springs
Homeowners' Association ("the HOA") and Jan
Rodina, a homeowner in the HOA. After a dispute over a fence
project, the HOA filed a complaint seeking injunctive relief
in Ada County district court. Rodina asserted, among other
defenses, that the HOA approved his project and waived the
right to enforce certain provisions of the subdivision's
Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions
("CC&Rs"). The district court awarded summary
judgment in favor of the HOA and granted injunctive relief.
We affirm, finding that the HOA did not approve his project
as built and that Rodina failed to show that a genuine issue
of material fact precluded the award of summary judgment
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Eagle Springs Subdivision.
in Boise, Idaho, the Eagle Springs Subdivision consists of
230 residential lots and is governed by the CC&Rs. The
CC&Rs are enforced and administered by the HOA through a
Board of Directors ("the Board"). The
CC&Rs' purpose is to "protect, enhance and
preserve the value, amenities, desirability, and
attractiveness" of the subdivision.
the CC&Rs, homeowners must obtain approval from the
HOA's "Architectural Committee" to
"improve" the exterior of their property. The
Architectural Committee is tasked with "us[ing] its
judgment to see that all Improvements conform and harmonize
as to external design, quality and type of construction,
architectural character, materials, color, location . . .
height, grade and finish ground elevation, natural
conditions, landscaping and all other aesthetic
considerations . . . ." An "Improvement" is
broadly defined as "any structure, facility or system .
. . which is erected, constructed or placed upon . . . any
portion of the Property." The CC&Rs specifically
list fences, walls, and landscaping within the definition of
"Improvements". The CC&Rs provide precise
requirements for specific alterations. For example: the
Committee may only approve fences that are "in general
conformance" with aesthetic models; fences and walls may
not sit closer than 20 feet to any street; and no fence may
exceed 6 feet in height.
obtain the Committee's approval, a homeowner must fill
out and submit a "Review and Approval Form". This
form references the CC&Rs' guidelines and asks for
"a detailed description" of the desired changes.
Once submitted, the Committee reviews the application and
will either approve, deny, or delay its decision on the
application. Once a decision is reached, the Committee's
decision is "conclusive and binding on all interested
parties." The CC&Rs state that the Committee's
prior approval does not waive its right to deny "any
similar proposal" in the future.
addition to approving and denying applications, the CC&Rs
authorize the Architectural Committee to grant
"variances from compliance with any of the architectural
provisions of the Project Documents, including restrictions
upon height, size, floor area or placement of structures, or
similar restrictions, when circumstances such as topography,
natural obstructions, hardship, aesthetic or environmental
considerations may require." A variance excuses any
violation for which it is granted. The CC&Rs specifically
declare that granting a variance "shall not operate to
waive any of the terms and provisions of the [CC&Rs] for
any purpose except as to the particular Building Lot and
particular provision hereof covered by the variance."
The CC&Rs also provide that "[t]he failure to
enforce any of the provisions herein at any time shall not
constitute a waiver of the right to enforce any such
property is a corner lot within the Eagle Creek subdivision
located at the intersection of Big Springs Blvd. and N.
Cayuse Way. Rodina's house faces north and meets Big
Springs Blvd, a residential street running east to west. The
east side of the property abuts the north-to-south N. Cayuse
2016, Rodina submitted a "Review and Approval Form"
with the Architectural Committee (the "First
Application"). Rodina described his project as follows:
Fence Repair: Fence will be repaired and extended on the east
side facing N. Cayuse Way to cover the full length of the
Landscaping: In order to repair the fence and to level the
fence with the house, some landscaping will be needed at the
backyard and the east side of the house.
Barber, the President of the HOA and member of the
Architectural Committee, conditionally approved the
application by writing "* - Fence to be stained to match
- All repairs to be in compliance w[ith] CC&Rs
and all applicable municipal, county, and state
end of May 2016, Rodina began constructing a three-foot
retaining wall "to level the severe slope of the
parcel." Rodina also constructed a new fence, placing it
atop the retaining wall, which placed it closer to N. Cayuse
Way. In August 2016, the HOA asked Rodina to submit a second
Review and Approval Form (the "Second
Application"). Rodina did so, writing:
As per our previously approved request by the HOA, we are
planning to level the property by using retaining wall
blocks. In addition, to avoid the continued trespassing, and
to provide better privacy and security for our family, we are
moving the fence on the east side slightly forward, closer to
N Cayuse Way.
All work will be done based on Ada county building codes. In
addition, the construction site has already been visited and
the plans were approved by the Sheriff that stopped by today.
additional back and forth with Rodina to discern the full
scope of the project, the Committee denied the second
application and stated that the project, as built, violated
the CC&Rs. The HOA communicated to Rodina its conclusions
that: Rodina's project exceeded the scope of the First
Application; his fence exceeded the 6-feet limit because it
was atop the 3-foot retaining wall; the fence was too close
to the street; and the retaining wall could negatively impact
how the property drains to adjacent properties. Lastly, the
HOA told Rodina that it would consider a new application for
the proposal if the fence dimensions were fixed and Rodina
obtained assurances that grading and drainage changes would
not burden other properties. The HOA offered to hold a
meeting with Rodina to discuss the project further.
weeks later, after Rodina failed to make any changes to his
property, the HOA informed Rodina that they would be holding
a formal meeting to determine whether it would take legal
action to enforce the CC&Rs and invited him to attend. In
October 2016, the HOA sent a formal cease-and-desist letter
to Rodina, explaining that the Board was considering legal
action and invited him to submit a less ambitious project. In
response, Rodina told the Board he was working with the
county on receiving approval for the project. The HOA
explained that compliance with the county codes was only part
of the requirements and that Rodina also needed to comply
with the CC&Rs. In November 2016, Rodina attended the
Board meeting and informed the Board that the fence and wall
were in compliance with relevant county codes. The Board
reiterated that the construction nevertheless violated the
CC&Rs and that it planned to proceed with legal action.
2017, the HOA filed a complaint against Rodina seeking
injunctive relief. The HOA asked the district court to order
Rodina to restore the property to its previous condition, or,
alternatively, permit the HOA to restore the property and
seek reimbursement from Rodina. In his answer, Rodina
asserted the equitable defenses of waiver, laches, and
estoppel. He also argued that the Association's action
violated its good faith and fiduciary duties under Idaho Code
section 30-29-830 and section 30-29-842 and the implied
covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Specifically, he
argued that the HOA waived its ability to deny his
improvements because it had "approved the construction
of similar improvements" with "similar fences"
atop "similar landscaping and retaining walls."
January 2018, the HOA filed a motion for summary judgment.
The HOA argued that Rodina's waiver defense failed
because the CC&Rs contain multiple no-waiver provisions
and that Rodina failed to request approval for his actual
project. In response, Rodina contended that genuine issues of
material fact precluded summary judgment on the issues of
waiver and the implied covenant of good faith and fair
dealing. In support, Rodina submitted emails from the Board
discussing two fence variances and some HOA Board meeting
minutes which discussed fence variances. In response, the HOA
argued that its approval of allegedly similar projects was
"irrelevant" in light of the CC&Rs'
non-waiver provision on enforcement and non-waiver provision
for Architectural Committee approval. The HOA also argued
that Rodina failed to produce any evidence of bad faith.
the summary-judgment hearing in February 2018, the district
court granted the HOA's motion. In its written decision,
the district court determined that Rodina exceeded the scope
of the First Application and, as finished, his project
violated a number of the CC&R's. Rejecting
Rodina's waiver defense, the court ruled that the plain
language of CC&R section 9.5 "clearly states the
'committee/[HOA] does not waive the enforcement of the
[CC&Rs] simply because it has previously approved similar
proposals.'" In addition, the district court ruled
that Rodina failed to submit sufficient evidence to support a
finding that the HOA had approved similar projects. Next, the
district court ruled that no genuine issues of material fact
precluded an award of summary judgment on Rodina's
allegation that the HOA violated its duty of good faith and
fair dealing. The district court reasoned that the Board did
not breach its duty of good faith and fair dealing by
approving other variances before denying Rodina's project
because the HOA's decision and actions were within its
discretion. The district court ordered Rodina to remove the
unapproved construction and to restore the property to
compliance with the CC&Rs. The court also awarded
attorney's fees to the HOA under section 8.1 of the
promptly filed a motion to reconsider. With it, Rodina filed
a copy of a memorandum decision and order issued in Eagle
Springs HOA v. Herren-an earlier Ada County district
court case involving the HOA-and a personal declaration.
Rodina's personal declaration stated that the HOA's
enforcement action against him "has not been made in
good faith" and was, Rodina believed, "premised in
part on my national origin, based upon derogatory statements
made by one of Plaintiff's board members." Rodina
also declared that "the enforcement of the covenants has
[sic] and is not uniform." He attached seven photographs
to the declarations which were "examples of violations
that have not been enforced by the [HOA]." Rodina stated
that he took the attached photographs "which show those
violations by other members of the Association, including the
HOA President." The attached photographs show various
fences and driveways with no identifying information other
than one photograph indicating "HOA President".
Several of the photographs appear to be of the same home.
Rodina argued that the HOA had waived its right to injunctive
relief by failing to uniformly enforce the covenants. This,
Rodina argued, should preclude summary judgment because the
district court found that there were similar improvements in
its decision granting the HOA's motion.
district court denied Rodina's motion for
reconsideration. The court declined to consider much of the
evidence submitted on reconsideration for various reasons,
including insufficient foundation, relevancy, or that it
contained a legal conclusion. The court also corrected
Rodina's assertion that it had found that there were
other similar projects:
For clarification, this Court found there was not sufficient
evidence to support a finding that the Committee had approved
similar projects. Rodina has failed to present any additional
evidence to support reconsideration of its finding that the
record is insufficient to find a material issue of fact
remains that the Association approved substantially similar
that the Herren decision was not binding, the
district court nevertheless took its analysis into
consideration but found it distinguishable. Rodina timely
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court reviews a grant of summary judgment under the same
standard of review the district court originally applied in
its ruling." Johnson v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,
164 Idaho 53, 56, 423 P.3d 1005, 1008 (2018) (citing
Conner v. Hodges, 157 Idaho 19, 23, 333 P.3d 130,
134 (2014)). The movant carries the burden to show "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); Wattenbarger v. A.G. Edwards &
Sons, 150 Idaho 308, 317, 246 P.3d 961, 970 (2010). To
determine whether the record contains genuine issues of
material fact, the trial court "must liberally construe
the facts, and draw all reasonable inferences, in favor of
the nonmoving party." Johnson, 164 ...