We recently addressed the Idaho Supreme Court’s decision in 616 Inc. v. Mae Properties, LLC, No. 49190 (Feb. 8, 2023), and specifically the essential elements of a lease. The decision also includes an important appellate practice point regarding the risks of pursuing a cross-appeal.

As a reminder, 616 Inc. appealed from the district court’s decision that the parties’ contract did not create a lease agreement. The defendants in the case, who largely prevailed below, cross-appealed from the district court’s order either denying them attorney’s fees on certain claims or awarding them $0 in reasonable attorney’s fees on others.

On appeal, the defendants were able to successfully defend against 616 Inc.’s appeal. They were not, however, successful on their cross-appeal. The Court held that neither party was entitled to attorney’s fees or costs on appeal as neither party was the prevailing party because of the mixed results of the case. The Court advised practitioners that they should carefully consider whether to cross-appeal because it may result in the inability to recover attorney’s fees for successfully defending against the other appeal.

Practice Pointers:

  1. The Idaho Supreme Court’s advice is worth repeating: “[A] respondent should carefully consider whether to file a cross-appeal because losing the cross-appeal may result in not being able to recover attorney fees incurred in defending the appeal.”
  2. This is not the first time the Court has addressed this issue in recent years. It has also arisen in Sommer v. Misty Valley, LLC, 170 Idaho 413, 511 P.3d 833, 852 (2021), and Knudsen v. J.R. Simplot Co., 168 Idaho 256, 274, 483 P.3d 313, 331 (2021).