Rife v. Long, No. 381

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtTROUT; McDEVITT
Citation127 Idaho 841,908 P.2d 143
Decision Date30 August 1995
Docket NumberNo. 21055,No. 381
Parties, 105 Ed. Law Rep. 1256 Earl RIFE and Sylvia Rife, husband and wife, individually and in their representative capacity as the parents and natural guardians of Jacob Rife, a minor, Plaintiffs-Appellants, Cross-Respondents, v. Glenn Richard LONG, W.O.M., Inc., American Falls School District, and John Does I through X, Defendants-Respondents, and City of American Falls, Defendant, and STATE of Idaho acting through the Idaho Transportation Board and Idaho Transportation Department, Defendants-Respondents, Cross-Appellants. . Pocatello, May 1995 Term

Page 143

908 P.2d 143
127 Idaho 841, 105 Ed. Law Rep. 1256
Earl RIFE and Sylvia Rife, husband and wife, individually and in their representative capacity as the parents and natural guardians of Jacob Rife, a minor, Plaintiffs-Appellants, Cross-Respondents,
v.
Glenn Richard LONG, W.O.M., Inc., American Falls School District No. 381, and John Does I through X, Defendants-Respondents,
and
City of American Falls, Defendant,
and
STATE of Idaho acting through the Idaho Transportation Board and Idaho Transportation Department, Defendants-Respondents, Cross-Appellants.
No. 21055.
Supreme Court of Idaho.
Pocatello, May 1995 Term.
Aug. 30, 1995.
Rehearing Denied Jan. 10, 1996.

Page 145

[127 Idaho 843] Racine, Olson, Nye, Cooper & Budge, Chtd., Pocatello, for appellants. Reed W. Larsen, argued.

Merrill & Merrill, Pocatello, for respondents Long and W.O.M. Stephen S. Dunn, argued.

Quane, Smith, Howard & Hull, Pocatello, for respondent American Falls School District No. 381. Douglas J. Balfour, argued.

Thomsen and Stephens, P.A., Idaho Falls, for respondent State of Idaho Department of Transportation. Alan C. Stephens, argued.

TROUT, Justice.

I.

FACTUAL SUMMARY

In 1988, Jacob Rife (Jacob), a fifth grader at American Falls Middle School, was walking home from school with his friend, Nick Wilkinson (Nick). The boys crossed the soccer field to the southwest of the school, crossed Bannock Avenue, and approached the intersection of Bannock Avenue and Harrison Street. Nick stopped at the curb, while Jacob continued on, stepped off the curb and walked into the rear wheels of a tractor-trailer driven by Glen Long (Long), resulting in serious injury to Jacob.

Highway 39, or Pocatello Avenue as it is also called, enters the east end of American Falls in a southwesterly direction. It then veers approximately thirty or forty degrees and heads towards the center of town in a northwesterly direction. At this curve where it intersects with Bannock Avenue, Highway 39 becomes Harrison Street as it continues west. The accident occurred at this intersection.

At the time of the accident Long was driving a tractor-trailer unit owned by W.O.M. Inc. Prior to entering the curve at Harrison and Bannock, Long observed several students walking toward the intersection. He testified he had driven this route many times and understood this was where many

Page 146

[127 Idaho 844] children crossed the road. He also stated the curve was tight, and he had to "ride" the center line in order for his trailer to clear the curb. Jacob's friend Nick testified Jacob was walking in "a daze" and he walked off the curb rather than stopping to check for traffic. Long was already past the point where Jacob entered the street having already made the turn with the truck, but not the trailer. When Jacob stepped off the curb, he was run over by the rear tires of the trailer which "off-track"; that is, they do not follow directly behind and in the path of the tractor's tires when turning.

Jacob's parents (the Rifes), in their individual capacity and as guardians of Jacob, brought a negligence action against Long, his employer, the American Falls School District (the District), the City of American Falls, and the State of Idaho.

The Rifes allege the District, State of Idaho, and City of American Falls were negligent in locating, designing, constructing, repairing and maintaining the highways and roads and in planning, designing, and maintaining the transportation system. Further, they assert these defendants were negligent in failing to control the vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and failing to provide a safe means of travel to and from school. Rifes argue that these defendants negligently failed to adopt, implement, and carry out measures to educate and protect the safety and welfare of children traveling to and from school and that they negligently supervised Jacob. The City of American Falls and the Rifes settled prior to this appeal.

The district court granted summary judgment to the District, finding it had no authority over the roadways, and finding it owed no duty of care to Jacob outside of school and school hours. The court granted partial summary judgment to the State, finding design and construction immunity and that the State had no duty to supervise Jacob. The district court refused to grant summary judgment to the State as to the theory it negligently maintained and signed the intersection.

As against Long, the Rifes allege that he was negligent in the operation of a motor vehicle, and his employer W.O.M. Inc. is also responsible under the doctrine of respondeat superior. Ultimately the district court granted summary judgment for Long and W.O.M., Inc., finding Long had exercised due care and, therefore, there was no breach of any duty of care.

The Rifes appeal the grant of summary judgment to the District, Long and W.O.M., Inc. They also appeal the grant of partial summary judgment to the State. The State cross-appeals the partial denial of summary judgment. The trial court issued a Rule 54(b) certificate as to all issues and all parties.

II.

WHETHER THE RULE 54(b) CERTIFICATE WAS IMPROPERLY GRANTED

Although the issuance of the 54(b) certificate has not been challenged by any of the parties, we are nonetheless faced with the jurisdictional question of whether I.R.C.P. 54(b) has been properly invoked. Hecla Mining Co. v. Star-Morning Mining Co., 122 Idaho 778, 839 P.2d 1192 (1992). The fact that the district court certifies a judgment as final and appealable under I.R.C.P. 54(b) does not restrict our right to review the matter. Glacier Gen. Assurance Co. v. Hisaw, 103 Idaho 605, 608, 651 P.2d 539, 542 (1982).

Multiple parties were involved in this action and the judgment appealed from wholly terminated at least one claim against the District and Long. Additionally, the district court determined there was no just reason for delay in entering final judgment. Therefore, we find the 54(b) certificate properly certified the judgment as final between the Rifes and these two parties. However, we will not address the arguments presented involving the State of Idaho because we find the 54(b) certificate pertaining to the State was improperly granted.

The district court granted partial summary judgment to the State on the theory of negligent design of the highway, and negligent supervision of Jacob. However, it refused to grant summary judgment on the

Page 147

[127 Idaho 845] theory of negligent maintenance of the intersection. In order for a partial judgment to be certified as final and appealable under Rule 54(b), the order granting partial judgment must finally resolve one or more of the claims between the parties. Toney v. Coeur D'Alene School Dist. No. 271, 117 Idaho 785, 786, 792 P.2d 350, 351 (1990). If it does not, then it is error for a trial court to certify any interlocutory order as final under I.R.C.P. 54(b). Id.

In this case, the Rifes brought an action for negligence against the State of Idaho. Although the Rifes argued several theories in support of this cause of action, it is still a single claim of negligence against the State. Cf. Thorn Creek Cattle Ass'n Inc. v. Bonz, 122 Idaho 42, 830 P.2d 1180 (1992); Toney v. Coeur D'Alene School Dist. No. 271, 117 Idaho 785, 792 P.2d 350 (1990); Glacier Gen. Assurance Co. v. Hisaw, 103 Idaho 605, 651 P.2d 539 (1982). This rule may not be invoked to permit the appeal of a partial adjudication of the rights of one of the parties; it is only applicable in a multiple party situation if there is a complete disposition of a claim relating to the party seeking to invoke the rule. See Backus Plywood Corp. v. Commercial Decal, Inc., 317 F.2d 339, 341 (2d Cir.1963).

Accordingly, since there has not been a final adjudication of at least one claim involving the State of Idaho, we dismiss the appeal as to that party. Further, because the State is not a party involved in this appeal, we likewise dismiss the cross-appeal brought by the State, and remand for further proceedings in district court.

III.

WHETHER SUMMARY JUDGMENT WAS PROPERLY GRANTED TO THE DISTRICT

This Court, when reviewing the grant of summary judgment, will review all the pleadings, depositions, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, to determine whether there is a genuine issue as to any material fact, and whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Harris v. State, Dep't of Health, 123 Idaho 295, 298, 847 P.2d 1156, 1159 (1992); I.R.C.P. 56(c). In doing so the Court will construe all facts liberally in favor of the party opposing the motion, and will draw all reasonable inferences from the record in favor of the non-moving party. Id.

A. The District Does Not Have a Statutory Duty to Supervise Students After School Hours and Off School Property

The Rifes argue the District has a duty to supervise its students, and that the duty extends to supervising students walking to and from school. The Rifes cite as authority I.C. § 33-512(4), which provides that the school district board of trustees has a duty "to protect the morals and health of the pupils." They argue this is a codification of the special relationship between schools and students and thus establishes the duty owed by school officials even beyond the school grounds.

The district court found the statutory duty codified in I.C. § 33-512(4), did not extend to the circumstances of this case. We have previously held that when the legislature enacted I.C. § 33-512(4), it created a statutory duty which requires a school district to protect the health and morals of the students. Czaplicki v. Gooding Joint School Dist., 116 Idaho 326, 331, 775 P.2d 640, 645 (1989); Doe v. Durtschi, 110 Idaho 466, 716 P.2d 1238 (1986). Each of these cases involved allegations of negligence which occurred while the students attended school or school activities. Most recently in Brooks v. Logan, 127 Idaho 484, 489, 903 P.2d 73, 78 (1995), we noted...

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79 practice notes
  • Strycharz v. Cady, SC 19507
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • November 15, 2016
    ...(“[a] school district is under no duty to supervise, or provide for the protection of its [students], on their way home”); Rife v. Long , 127 Idaho 841, 847, 908 P.2d 143 (1995) (no common-law duty of care when students have been released and parents are free to resume control over their ch......
  • Nation v. State, Dept. of Correction, No. 31110.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • March 29, 2007
    ...resulting liability for breach, and the availability, cost, and prevalence of insurance for the risk involved. Id. (quoting Rife v. Long, 127 Idaho 841, 846, 908 P.2d 143, 148 (1995)) (quoting Isaacs v. Huntington Meml. Hosp., 38 Cal.3d 112, 211 Cal.Rptr. 356, 695 P.2d 653, 658 The IDOC def......
  • Oswald v. Costco Wholesale Corp., Docket No. 47261
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • October 5, 2020
    ...v. Payonk , 101 Idaho 617, 620, 619 P.2d 135, 138 (1980), or if a well-recognized duty extends beyond its prior reach, see Rife v. Long, 127 Idaho 841, 846, 908 P.2d 143, 148 (1995), this Court has conducted an analysis based on a number of factors and public-policy rationales. Rife , 127 I......
  • Oswald v. Costco Wholesale Corp., Docket No. 47261
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • October 5, 2020
    ...v. Payonk , 101 Idaho 617, 620, 619 P.2d 135, 138 (1980), or if a well-recognized duty extends beyond its prior reach, see Rife v. Long, 127 Idaho 841, 846, 908 P.2d 143, 148 (1995), this Court has conducted an analysis based on a number of factors and public-policy rationales. Rife , 127 I......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
79 cases
  • Strycharz v. Cady, SC 19507
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • November 15, 2016
    ...(“[a] school district is under no duty to supervise, or provide for the protection of its [students], on their way home”); Rife v. Long , 127 Idaho 841, 847, 908 P.2d 143 (1995) (no common-law duty of care when students have been released and parents are free to resume control over their ch......
  • Nation v. State, Dept. of Correction, No. 31110.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • March 29, 2007
    ...resulting liability for breach, and the availability, cost, and prevalence of insurance for the risk involved. Id. (quoting Rife v. Long, 127 Idaho 841, 846, 908 P.2d 143, 148 (1995)) (quoting Isaacs v. Huntington Meml. Hosp., 38 Cal.3d 112, 211 Cal.Rptr. 356, 695 P.2d 653, 658 The IDOC def......
  • Oswald v. Costco Wholesale Corp., Docket No. 47261
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • October 5, 2020
    ...v. Payonk , 101 Idaho 617, 620, 619 P.2d 135, 138 (1980), or if a well-recognized duty extends beyond its prior reach, see Rife v. Long, 127 Idaho 841, 846, 908 P.2d 143, 148 (1995), this Court has conducted an analysis based on a number of factors and public-policy rationales. Rife , 127 I......
  • Oswald v. Costco Wholesale Corp., Docket No. 47261
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • October 5, 2020
    ...v. Payonk , 101 Idaho 617, 620, 619 P.2d 135, 138 (1980), or if a well-recognized duty extends beyond its prior reach, see Rife v. Long, 127 Idaho 841, 846, 908 P.2d 143, 148 (1995), this Court has conducted an analysis based on a number of factors and public-policy rationales. Rife , 127 I......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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