Boise Mode, LLC v. Pace

Decision Date24 January 2013
Docket NumberNo. 39229.,39229.
Citation154 Idaho 99,294 P.3d 1111
Parties BOISE MODE, LLC, an Illinois limited liability company, successor-in-interest of Mode Building Limited Partnership, an Idaho limited partnership, Plaintiff–Counterdefendant–Respondent, v. DONAHOE PACE & PARTNERS LTD, an Idaho corporation, Defendant–Counterclaimant–Appellant, and Timothy Pace, Defendant–Appellant.
CourtIdaho Supreme Court

Lopez & Kelly, PLLC, Boise, for appellants. Nathan Ohler argued.

Hawley Troxell Ennis & Hawley LLP, Boise, for respondent. Steven F. Schossberger argued.

HORTON, Justice.

This appeal arises from a commercial lease dispute. Boise Mode, LLC leased space in its building to Donahoe Pace & Partners, Ltd. (DPP). Timothy Pace executed a personal guarantee for the lease. During the term of the lease, Boise Mode remodeled part of the building for another tenant. After raising concerns to Boise Mode about the adverse effects of the construction to its business, DPP eventually stopped paying rent and vacated the premises prior to the end of the lease. Boise Mode then brought an action against DPP, alleging breach of contract, and against Pace for breaching the guarantee. DPP counterclaimed, alleging that the disruption caused by the construction constituted breach of contract and constructive eviction. After Boise Mode moved for summary judgment on all claims and counterclaims, DPP requested a continuance to complete discovery. The district court denied DPP's motion and ultimately granted Boise Mode's motion for summary judgment. DPP appealed from the summary judgment as well as from the district court's denial of its request for a continuance. We affirm.


Boise Mode and DPP entered into a lease agreement (Agreement) in November 2006, under which DPP agreed to lease Suite 350 in Boise Mode's building at 800 W. Idaho Street in Boise (the Premises) from December 1, 2006 to May 31, 2010. Among its provisions, the Agreement contains the following:

[¶ 2.1] Landlord reserves the right to affect such other tenancies in the Facility as Landlord, in its sole discretion, deems appropriate and Tenant does not rely on Landlord's leasing to any specific tenant, or to any number of tenants, any space in the Facility.
[¶ 4.1] Tenant shall pay to Landlord as monthly Base Rent for the Premises the amount specified.... Except as specifically provided herein, there shall be no deduction, offset or abatement for any reason of the rent or any money payable by Tenant to Landlord.
[¶ 19.3] Landlord agrees that Tenant, upon paying the rent and other monetary sums due under this Lease and performing the covenants and conditions of this Lease and upon recognizing purchaser as Landlord, may quietly have, hold and enjoy the Premises during the term [of the Agreement]....

In addition to the lease, Timothy Pace executed an instrument titled "Personal Guarantee of Lease," in which he guaranteed immediate payment of all money DPP owed to Boise Mode under the Agreement upon written notice from Boise Mode.

At some point around August 2008, DPP began to express its concerns regarding the construction taking place in the building and asked Boise Mode to address those issues. Then, in December 2008, DPP stopped paying rent. DPP remained in the Premises and the parties continued to negotiate regarding DPP's concerns about the construction, which ended early in 2009. Finally, in October 2009, Boise Mode notified DPP that it had three days to either become current on rent or vacate the Premises. DPP vacated the Premises in November 2009.

Boise Mode filed its complaint in January 2010. DPP answered and filed counterclaims for constructive eviction, breach of contract, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. On April 8, 2010, DPP served its initial discovery requests on Boise Mode. Boise Mode served its answers to DPP's interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for production of documents on May 10, 2010. The trial was rescheduled from December 8, 2010 to February 23, 2011. In accordance with the district court's scheduling order, Boise Mode filed its summary judgment motions on November 24, 2010 and noticed the hearing for December 22, 2010.

On December 8, 2010, instead of opposing summary judgment directly, DPP moved for a continuance of the summary judgment proceedings, arguing that some of Boise Mode's discovery responses were insufficient. The district court denied the Rule 56(f) motion. The district court granted Boise Mode's motions for summary judgment and entered a final judgment on January 5, 2011. On March 2, 2011, the district court granted DPP's motion to amend the judgment, thus vacating its grant of summary judgment for Boise Mode. In its ruling, the district court found that DPP's motion was both a motion for reconsideration under I.R.C.P. 11(a)(2)(B) and a motion to amend under Rule 59(e). Boise Mode then filed its own motion pursuant to I.R.C.P. 11(a)(2)(B), requesting the court to reconsider this reversal of its earlier decision. On June 21, 2011, the district court granted Boise Mode's motion, effectively reinstating the grant of summary judgment for Boise Mode. A second final judgment was entered on August 26, 2011, awarding damages and attorney fees to Boise Mode and dismissing DPP's counterclaims with prejudice. DPP timely appealed.


This Court exercises free review over questions regarding the interpretation of the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure. Eby v. State, 148 Idaho 731, 734, 228 P.3d 998, 1001 (2010) (citing Canyon Cnty. Bd. of Equalization v. Amalgamated Sugar Co., 143 Idaho 58, 60, 137 P.3d 445, 447 (2006) ). "The decision to grant or deny a Rule 56(f) continuance is within the sound discretion of the trial court." Taylor v. AIA Services Corp., 151 Idaho 552, 572, 261 P.3d 829, 849 (2011) (citing Carnell v. Barker Mgmt., 137 Idaho 322, 329, 48 P.3d 651, 658 (2002) ). When reviewing a discretionary decision of the district court, this Court "determine[s] whether the court (1) correctly perceived the issue as one of discretion; (2) acted within the boundaries of such discretion and consistently with applicable legal standards; and (3) reached its decision by an exercise of reason." Blackmore v. Re/Max Tri–Cities, LLC, 149 Idaho 558, 563, 237 P.3d 655, 660 (2010) (citing Lee v. Nickerson, 146 Idaho 5, 9, 189 P.3d 467, 471 (2008) ).

This Court exercises free review over appeals from a district court's grant of summary judgment, applying the same standard the district court used in ruling on the motion. Taylor v. McNichols, 149 Idaho 826, 832, 243 P.3d 642, 648 (2010) (quoting Curlee v. Kootenai Cnty. Fire & Rescue, 148 Idaho 391, 394, 224 P.3d 458, 461 (2008) ). Under that standard, summary judgment is proper if "the pleadings, depositions, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." I.R.C.P. 56(c). "If there is no genuine issue of material fact, only a question of law remains, over which this Court exercises free review." Cristo Viene Pentecostal Church v. Paz, 144 Idaho 304, 307, 160 P.3d 743, 746 (2007).

The party initially bringing the motion has the burden to prove that no genuine issues of material fact exist and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Indian Springs LLC v. Indian Springs Land Inv., LLC, 147 Idaho 737, 746, 215 P.3d 457, 466 (2009) (citing Cafferty v. Dep't of Transp., Div. of Motor Vehicle Servs., 144 Idaho 324, 327, 160 P.3d 763, 766 (2007) ). After the moving party meets this burden, "the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to show the existence of a genuine issue of material fact." Asbury Park, LLC v. Greenbriar Estate Homeowners' Ass'n, Inc., 152 Idaho 338, 343–44, 271 P.3d 1194, 1199–1200 (2012) (quoting Chandler v. Hayden, 147 Idaho 765, 769, 215 P.3d 485, 489 (2009) ). This Court will "construe the record in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, drawing all reasonable inferences in that party's favor." Jenkins v. Boise Cascade Corp., 141 Idaho 233, 238, 108 P.3d 380, 385 (2005) (citing Thompson v. Pike, 125 Idaho 897, 899, 876 P.2d 595, 597 (1994) ). However, "the adverse party may not rest upon mere allegations in the pleadings, but must set forth by affidavit specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial." Curlee, 148 Idaho at 394–95, 224 P.3d at 461–62 (quoting Rhodehouse v. Stutts, 125 Idaho 208, 211, 868 P.2d 1224, 1227 (1994) ).

A. The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying DPP's continuance motion.

DPP argues that the district court's denial of its Rule 56(f) motion for a continuance was an abuse of discretion because motions for continuance under this rule are generally favored and the court's reason for its denial was inconsistent with the legal standard for considering a request for a continuance. Boise Mode contends that the court acted within its discretion because DPP did not properly justify its motion by demonstrating the relevance and necessity of the additional discovery it sought. We hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion.

A motion for summary judgment is decided based upon the "pleadings, depositions, and admissions on file," along with any supporting affidavits. I.R.C.P. 56(c). Thus, the standard contemplates the existence of an adequate record and it follows that a party opposing summary judgment must be afforded an adequate opportunity to conduct discovery to make that record. See Doe v. Abington Friends Sch., 480 F.3d 252, 257 (3d Cir.2007) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 257, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2514–15, 91 L.Ed.2d 202, 217 (1986) ). Under the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure, the district court may grant a continuance to allow additional time for a party resisting summary judgment to obtain affidavits in opposition to the motion:


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