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Fletcher v. Lone Mountain Road Association

Supreme Court of Idaho

November 13, 2019

ROCKY W. FLETCHER and DELORES L. FLETCHER, husband and wife, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
LONE MOUNTAIN ROAD ASSOCIATION, an Idaho unincorporated non-profit association; ALAN K. SIMS, an individual; LOU ANN STAMP, an individual; EUGENE DEPAULIS, an individual; THOMAS D. VALENZUELA, an individual; ROY STULTS and MARILYN STULTS, husband and wife; ANDREW J. PONDER and DARCY PONDER, husband and wife; ROBERT L. IMPERATRICE and JEAN IMPERATRICE, husband and wife, Defendants-Respondents, and DOUGLAS B. GRANT and JANE DOE GRANT, husband and wife; CCM, LLC, an Idaho Limited Liability Company; BRIAN REED, an individual; RICK M. PICCININI, an individual; EDWARD J. SITAR, an individual; KATHLEEN STONE, an individual; LINDA D. SUTLIFF, an individual; RAWLAND L. AHLMAN, an individual; RAWLAND L. AHLMAN, Trustee of the RAWLAND L. AHLMAN LIVING TRUST and CHERYL A. WILSON, Trustee of the NORMA A. AHLMAN MARITAL TRUST; JANET L. RICHMOND, an individual; GARY A. WILSON and JANE DOE WILSON, husband and wife; DANIEL D. GREGG, an individual; RYAN C. WELLS, an individual, and JOHN K. MOATS and JANE DOE MOATS, husband and wife; Defendants.

          Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Charles W. Hosack, District Judge.

         The district court's decision is reversed and the case remanded.

          James, Vernon & Weeks, P.A., Coeur d'Alene, for appellants, Rocky W. and Delores L. Fletcher. Susan P. Weeks argued.

          Ramsden, Marfice, Ealy & Harris, LLP, Coeur d'Alene, for respondents Alan K. Sims and Andrew J. and Darcy Ponder. Michael E. Ramsden argued.

          Lou Ann Stamp, Athol, respondent pro se.

          Eugene DePaulis and Lucinda DePaulis, Athol, respondents pro se.

          Roy Stults and Marilyn Stults, Athol, respondents pro se.

          Robert Imperatrice and Jean Imperatrice, Athol, respondents pro se.

          Thomas Valenzuela, Athol, respondent pro se.

          Lone Mountain Road Association, Athol, respondent pro se.

          BRODY, JUSTICE

         Rocky and Delores Fletcher appeal the district court's denial of attorney fees on remand after an amended judgment was entered in their favor. The district court awarded some costs to the Fletchers as the prevailing parties but found that the subdivision's covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), which govern this dispute, did not provide a basis for an award of attorney fees. We reverse the district court's decision, holding that the Fletchers' declaratory judgment action constituted an "enforcement action" under section 5.1 of the CC&Rs. We remand the case to the district court for a determination of the amount of reasonable attorney fees to be awarded and apportionment of those fees against the parties.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The Fletchers first appealed to this Court in 2017 following an adverse judgment from the district court. Fletcher v. Lone Mountain Road Association, 162 Idaho 347, 349-50, 396 P.3d 1229, 1231-32 (2017). The Fletchers own property in the Twin Lakes Meadows Subdivision in Kootenai County. There is a private gravel and dirt road known as "Lone Mountain Road" which runs through the subdivision. Some of the lots, but not all, adjoin or connect to the road. Over the years, because Delores Fletcher suffers from asthma, the Fletchers used asphalt grindings, oiling, and other dust control methods-at their own expense-to abate the dust on the stretch of Lone Mountain Road that is adjacent to their property. Disputes arose for several contentious years between the Fletchers and the "Lone Mountain Road Association"-i.e. the Fletchers' neighbors-over the payment of maintenance costs incurred by the Association, ...


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