Articles Posted in Idaho Supreme Court - Civil

by
While employed by Zing LLC, Josue Barrios (“Claimant”) was totally and permanently disabled as a result of an industrial accident when he fell about twelve feet from a ladder and hit his head face first on a concrete floor. He suffered multiple facial fractures, a frontal bone fracture, the loss of sight in his left eye, and a severe traumatic brain injury that caused a major neurocognitive disorder and speech language deficits. This case was an appeal of an Industrial Commission order requiring an employer and its surety to pay the cost of a guardian and a conservator for Barrios. Finding no reversible error in the Commission's order, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Barrios v. Zing, LLC" on Justia Law

by
Shawn Bailey sued several parties, including Peritus I Assets Management, LLC (Peritus), for claims allegedly arising out of his employment at American Medical File, Inc. (AMF), doing business as OnFile. Bailey alleged claims for breach of his employment contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Peritus moved to dismiss Bailey’s claim for intentional infliction of and the district court granted the motion on the basis that Bailey had not alleged conduct that was extreme and outrageous. Peritus thereafter moved for summary judgment on Bailey’s breach of contract claim, contending the statute of frauds rendered it unenforceable. In response, Bailey moved to amend his complaint in an effort to bypass the statute of frauds. The district court denied Bailey leave to amend and granted Peritus summary judgment, finding the statute of frauds dispositive. Bailey appealed the denial of leave to amend and grant of summary judgment in favor of Peritus. The Idaho Supreme Court found the district court erred by finding the statute of frauds barred Bailey’s breach of contract claim against Peritus, “[Bailey’s] lone allegation does not vitiate the thrust of Bailey’s complaint to somehow change this case from one alleging principal liability to one alleging collateral liability.” The Court’s conclusion that the statute of frauds did not apply to Bailey’s claim for breach of contract against Peritus as alleged in his initial complaint mooted any need for Bailey to allege statute of frauds exceptions, and the Supreme Court did not address that issue. View "Bailey v. Peritus I Assets Management" on Justia Law

by
Perry Krinitt, Sr. appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the State of Idaho and the Department of Fish and Game (IDFG). Perry Krinitt, Jr. (“Perry”) was a pilot for Leading Edge Aviation. He died when the helicopter he was piloting crashed in Kamiah, Idaho. Perry was flying IDFG employees Larry Bennett and Danielle Schiff to conduct a fish survey on the Selway River. Bennett and Schiff also died in the crash. An investigation revealed that the accident was caused when a clipboard struck the tail rotor: one of the passengers became sick and opened the helicopter door, dropping the clipboard in the process. Krinitt filed a wrongful death suit based in negligence seeking damages against IDFG for Perry’s death. IDFG did not assert statutory immunity under Idaho’s Worker’s Compensation Act as a defense. IDFG moved for summary judgment on grounds that Krinitt could not prove negligence. The district court ruled that IDFG was a statutory employer under the Idaho Worker’s Compensation Act and, consequently, IDFG was entitled to immunity from actions based on the work-related death of Perry. Krinitt appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Krinitt v. Idaho Dept of Fish & Game" on Justia Law

by
This appeal arose out of an agent contract dispute between Bret Kunz (“Bret”) and Nield, Inc. (“N.I.”) authorizing Bret to sell insurance on behalf of N.I. N.I. is owned by two brothers, Bryan Nield (“Bryan”) and Benjamin Nield. A dispute arose concerning the method and type of compensation available to Bret under the Contract. Bret filed a complaint seeking, inter alia, a declaratory judgment interpreting the Contract. The district court held the 2009 Contract did not provide for profit sharing as Bret claimed. Bret and his wife, Marti, (collectively, the “Kunzes”) appealed. Finding no reversible errors with respect to how the district court interpreted the Contract, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Kunz v. Nield, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Claimant-appellant Penny Weymiller, a former employee of Lockheed Idaho Technologies (“Lockheed”), appealed the Idaho Industrial Commission’s order that she was not entitled to additional medical care in relation to her bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome (“CTS”). The Idaho Supreme Court determined the Commission erred in holding that Weymiller failed to prove her entitlement to additional care because the Court determined the decision was not supported by substantial and competent evidence. “[T]he Commission’s failure to consider palliative care in the form of wrist braces as treatment is contrary to our holding in Rish [v. Home Depot, Inc., 390 P.3d 428 (2017)]. The Commission misapplied the law and there was sufficient uncontradicted evidence to support Weymiller’s claim for replacement braces.” View "Weymiller v. Lockheed Idaho Technologies" on Justia Law

by
Claimant-appellant Jimmy Christy, Jr. appealed an Idaho Industrial Commission that found him ineligible for unemployment benefits based upon a willful underreporting of earnings to the Idaho Department of Labor. The appeals examiner heard testimony during a hearing, including Christy’s testimony that despite attending high school, he had problems with numbers and did not read well. The Industrial Commission found that Christy’s explanations resolved only part of the discrepancies revealed by a cross-match audit. The Industrial Commission entered its decision finding that Christy had willfully misstated material facts in his weekly earnings reports to IDOL and found him ineligible for unemployment benefits for each of the weeks that earnings were willfully misrepresented. The Industrial Commission also imposed civil penalties and interest. Christy filed a timely notice of appeal to this Court. Finding no reversible error in the Industrial Commission's decision, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Christy v. Grasmick Produce" on Justia Law

by
Steven Andrews filed for workers’ compensation benefits after he fell from a ladder in 2009 while working for the Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS Church). Andrews sought to establish that the Idaho Industrial Special Indemnity Fund (ISIF) was liable pursuant to Idaho Code section 72- 332. The referee concluded that Andrews failed to show that ISIF was liable because the evidence showed that any pre-existing physical impairments did not constitute a subjective hindrance and that Andrews failed to show that his pre-existing impairments combined with the industrial accident to cause his total and permanent disability. The Commission adopted the recommendation. Andrews timely appealed, arguing that the Commission’s order was not supported by substantial and competent evidence. Not persuaded by Andrews’ arguments, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Andrews v. Idaho Industrial Special Indemnity Fund" on Justia Law

by
Leticia Salinas injured her back while working for Bridgeview Estates (“Employer”). After receiving medical treatment for roughly six weeks, her workers’ compensation benefits were temporarily denied by Old Republic Insurance Company. Nearly two years later, Salinas filed a claim for reimbursement for medical costs and all future medical care. The Idaho Industrial Commission concluded that Salinas failed to prove that she was entitled to payment of compensation. Notwithstanding that conclusion, the Commission awarded Salinas attorney’s fees. The Employer appealed the award. The Supreme Court concluded the Commission erred in awarding attorney’s fees, and vacated the judgment. View "Salinas v. Bridgeview Estates" on Justia Law

by
Enrique Lopez appeals an order of the Idaho Industrial Commission (“Industrial Commission”) declining to award him additional workman’s compensation income benefits for binaural hearing loss he sustained as a result of a workplace accident. Lopez was injured by a bull while working on a dairy. Lopez complained to the Industrial Commission that he was entitled to additional income benefits based on his interpretation of the statutory schedule for permanent impairments in Idaho Code section 72-428. The Industrial Commission disagreed, holding that Lopez was only entitled to the 8% impairment benefits previously paid. Lopez timely appealed. Finding no error in the Commission’s calculation of Lopez’ income benefits for his partial binaural hearing loss, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Lopez v. Vanbeek Herd Partnership" on Justia Law

by
This appeal arose from an Industrial Commission (the Commission) order denying medical care benefits to Channel Rish. Rish worked as a cashier at Home Depot. While working on October 30, 2005, Rish slipped on a floor mat and injured her right knee. The injury ultimately required Rish to undergo three knee surgeries, which Dr. Casey Huntsman performed in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Roughly three months after Rish’s third surgery, Dr. Huntsman concluded Rish had achieved maximum medical improvement (MMI). Dr. Huntsman, however, further noted that Rish “definitely needs . . . continued pain management” with Dr. Holly Zoe. To that end, Rish visited Dr. Zoe for pain management treatment. Respondents remained skeptical as to Rish’s continued medical care with Dr. Zoe. Rish filed a worker’s compensation complaint to seek past and future disability benefits and medical care. Respondents answered and conceded Rish was entitled to the already-paid disability benefits and medical care, but Respondents disputed whether she was entitled to additional disability benefits and medical care. After a hearing, the Commission held in Respondents’ favor. The Commission noted that Rish did not timely raise the issue of disability benefits, but concluded Rish was nevertheless entitled to no additional disability benefits. Further, the Commission concluded Rish was entitled to no additional medical care benefits because the medical care Rish received after August 9, 2007 (the date when Dr. Huntsman deemed her at MMI) was unreasonable. Rish appealed. After review, the Supreme Court concluded the Commission erred in holding that the medical care Rish received after August 9, 2007 was unreasonable. As such, the Court vacated the Commission’s denial of medical care benefits and remanded for further proceedings. View "Rish v. Home Depot" on Justia Law