Nampa Education Ass’n v. Nampa School District. No. 131, 2015 Opinion No. 22 (Feb. 26, 2015), is yet another recent case involving a request for attorney fees under Idaho Code § 12-117. There the Idaho Supreme Court refused to consider the request because the Nampa Education Association, the prevailing party on appeal, failed to address the issue in the argument section of its appeal brief as required by Idaho Appellate Rule 35.

I.A.R. 35 requires an appellant’s brief to indicate that the appellant is claiming attorney fees in the list of issues on appeal. I.A.R. 35(a)(5). The argument section must “contain the contentions of the appellant with respect to the issues presented on appeal, [and] the reasons therefor,” with citations to authority and the record on appeal. I.A.R. 35(a)(6). The same requirements apply to a respondent’s brief. I.A.R. 35(b)(5), (6).

The Nampa Education Association lost a ready award of attorney fees on appeal under Idaho Code § 12-117. As in Jayo Development and Arnold (discussed in another blog post of this same date), the issue before the Court turned on the interpretation of a statute, which the Court found was clear and unambiguous. Because the opposing party advanced an argument that disregarded the plain language of the statute, it would appear that the Nampa Education Association could have recovered its attorney fees on appeal.