The Idaho Supreme Court and Idaho Court of Appeals issued a published opinion on the civil appeal case: Marian G. Hoke v. NeYada, Inc.
The Idaho Supreme Court has issued a published opinion on the law of partial performance of real estate contracts in Idaho stemming from a seller’s failure to convey real property under contract. In November 2014, the seller, Marian G. Hoke, signed a Lease and Option with NeYada, Inc. for the transfer of an interest in real property located in Canyon County, Idaho. Two months later, Hoke filed suit seeking to invalidate the Lease and the Option alleging, inter alia, that neither document complied with the statute of frauds. Both parties moved for summary judgment. The district court held that the Lease and Option were invalid and unenforceable under the statute of frauds. The district court also held that the Idaho doctrine of partial performance did not apply.
Idaho real estate and business Attorney Brian L. Webb, representing NeYada, Inc., appealed the decision of the district court to Idaho’s highest court, the Supreme Court of Idaho. He argued that that the agreements were enforceable under the doctrine of partial performance and also that they complied with the statute of frauds. In a unanimous decision, the Idaho Supreme Court agreed with Mr. Webb that the agreements were enforceable under the doctrine of partial performance. It found not need to address the issue on the statute of frauds and vacated the district court’s Judgment against NeYada. Specifically, it held, inter alia, that by taking possession of the property, and by other actions of both parties, NeYada was entitled to rely on the doctrine of partial performance. The Idaho Supreme Court also vacated the district court’s award of attorney’s fees to Hoke because it was no longer the prevailing party. It also awarded costs on appeal to NeYada. The case has been sent back to the district court for additional proceedings.
When asked about the result, Mr. Webb indicated that he and his client “were pleased with the opinion.” He also commented that “the decision clarifies the doctrine of partial performance as it has been applied in Idaho” and that he “believes that the precedent set by the Court will likely act as a guide to title companies, real estate agents, and lawyers in their dealings on real estate matters.”