On December 7, 2022, the Idaho Supreme Court issued an opinion in Schiermeier v. State of Idaho. This post will focus not on the merits of that decision, but on the Court’s “necessary discussion regarding the conduct of counsel.”

In Idaho, out-of-state attorneys may practice law only if they associate with local counsel and apply for pro hac vice admission. Idaho Bar Commission Rule 227. Local counsel, at the very least, must familiarize out-of-state counsel with the standards and expectations governing the practice of law in Idaho, and ultimately local counsel “take[s] responsibility for the conduct of out-of-state counsel.” To discharge that duty, local counsel must sign all submissions (certifying that local counsel has read the submission) and appear at all proceedings with out-of-state counsel (unless the requirement has been waived).Continue Reading Idaho Supreme Court Update: The Importance of Local Counsel

The facts. Donald Blaskiewicz, M.D., a highly trained neurosurgeon, was employed by the Spine Institute of Idaho, P.A. (“Spine Institute”) pursuant to a Professional Services Agreement (“PSA”). The PSA contained a non-compete clause that prohibited him from practicing medicine within 50 miles of the Spine Institute’s office for 18 months. Pursuant to the PSA, Blaskiewicz could avoid the non-compete by either paying the Spine Institute $350,000 or obtaining permission from the Spine Institute to practice medicine in the proscribed area. The district court concluded that the non-compete clause was against public policy and void as a matter of law. The Spine Institute appealed.

The issues. Three issues were on appeal: (1) whether the appeal was moot; (2) whether the district court had jurisdiction despite an arbitration provision; and (3) whether the district court erred in finding that the non-compete was unenforceable.Continue Reading Idaho Supreme Court Update: Blaskiewicz v. Spine Institute of Idaho, P.A.

The facts. An assisted living facility partnered with a preferred pharmacy to offset software costs related to the tracking and delivery of residents’ prescription medications. The facility charged residents an extra $10 each month if they did not choose the preferred pharmacy. The lower court held that the arrangement violated the Idaho Residential Care or Assisted Living Act, which guarantees residents the “right to select the pharmacy or pharmacist of their choice.” The facility appealed.

The issues. Two issues were on appeal: (1) whether the Idaho Residential Care or Assisted Living Act prohibits the facility from charging residents $10 more per month if they did not select the preferred pharmacy, and (2) whether either party could recover attorney’s fees.Continue Reading Idaho Supreme Court Update: Grace at Twin Falls, LLC v. Jeppesen

The facts. The Idaho Department of Labor found that Nathaniel Sheehan was ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits and ordered him to repay benefits that he had received. During Sheehan’s initial protest, the Department advised Sheehan that it would email updates to him, but the Department instead mailed a notice of telephonic hearing to Sheehan’s

The facts. Mom and Dad were married, had a child, and divorced. As part of the divorce, the parties reached a visitation arrangement that gave Mom primary custody of the child and Dad visitation. Mom later relocated to Costa Rica with the child. Mom made the decision to relocate unilaterally, without informing Dad and

The facts. A father allegedly consented to a sham marriage for his minor daughter to evade the magistrate court’s jurisdiction over a custody dispute with his ex-wife. The mother requested expedited relief to stop the sham marriage, but the magistrate court did not enter an order stopping the father from consenting to the marriage

In Jennissen v. City of Bloomington, 913 N.W.2d 456 (2018), the Minnesota Supreme Court recently held that Minn. Stat. § 115A.94 (2016) does not preempt local ordinances concerning municipal waste collection systems, finding that the Legislature did not intend to occupy the field but instead left room for supplemental municipal regulation.  In reversing decisions by the Hennepin County District Court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the Minnesota Supreme Court specifically found that Minn. Stat. § 115A.94 does not preempt Bloomington residents’ passage of a charter amendment that would prevent the City of Bloomington from implementing an organized waste collection ordinance without prior voter approval. On remand, the Court of Appeals held that the residents’ proposed charter amendment was an improper referendum.  The Minnesota Supreme Court granted review on January 15, 2019.Continue Reading In Reversal, Minnesota Supreme Court Finds State Law Does Not Preempt Proposed City Charter Amendment On Municipal Waste Collection System

The Minnesota Supreme Court recently clarified the application of the doctrine against disproportionate forfeiture under Minnesota contract law in Capistrant v. Lifetouch Nat’l Sch. Studios, Inc., 916 N.W.2d 23 (Minn. 2018).  Minnesota courts (and other jurisdictions) have long relied on the disproportionate forfeiture doctrine as a way to prevent inequitable penalties in contracts, although the doctrine is not uniformly interpreted.  In Capistrant, while the court confronted the specific question of “whether a former employee’s delay in returning his employer’s property excuses the employer from paying a commission otherwise due to the employee,” its interpretation of the disproportionate forfeiture doctrine may have wider application.Continue Reading Minnesota Supreme Court Clarifies The Disproportionate Forfeiture Doctrine

In Harshbarger v. Klamath County, No. A163379, the Oregon Court of Appeals addresses timber trespass claims involving noncommercial, ornamental trees.  In such cases, the court holds, the plaintiff must prove either (1) that damage to the trees diminished the market value of the real property, or (2) that the effect on the property’s value cannot be determined.  According to the court, if the evidence shows that the land’s market value is not affected, then the plaintiff cannot substitute evidence of the value of the trees or costs related to the trespass.  The timber trespass claim simply fails.


Continue Reading Trespass To Noncommercial Trees: No Effect On The Land’s Market Value? Then No Timber Trespass Claim, Says The Oregon Court Of Appeals

In Gist v. Zoan Management, No. S064925, the Oregon Supreme Court clarifies the circumstances under which a party can appeal from a judgment of voluntary dismissal.  More than 50 years ago, the Oregon Supreme Court held that “a party may not appeal from a judgment which he voluntarily requested.” Steenson v. Robinson, 236 Or 414, 416-17 (1963).  Now, in Gist, the court announces that the Steenson rule does not apply if the judgment was a voluntary dismissal with prejudice.
Continue Reading Oregon Supreme Court Allows Appeal from Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice