Articles Posted in Idaho Supreme Court - Civil

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Dennis and Wanda Irish appealed a district court order granting a directed verdict in favor of Jeffrey and Dona Hall. The Irishes brought a defamation action against the Halls after the Halls changed their home wireless internet designation to read, “[D]ennis & [W]anda Irish stocking u2.” The complaint requested an injunction, damages, attorney fees and costs. This followed an acrimonious history between the parties stemming from Wanda Irish’s role as the mayor of the city of Harrison. The district court granted the Halls’ motion for a directed verdict, concluding the statement conveyed via the wireless designation was an opinion, and as such was protected under the First Amendment. The Irishes appealed the district court’s order, and the Halls cross-appealed, challenging the district court’s denial of attorney fees. The Idaho Supreme Court determined the district court erred in granting the Halls’ motion for a directed verdict, finding the phrase “[D]ennis & [W]anda Irish stocking u2” was not a statement of opinion, political criticism, or hyperbole. The Court vacated the directed verdict, affirmed the denial of attorney fees, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Irish v. Hall" on Justia Law

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This case arose out of statements made to a call-in radio show by Steve Murdock about his neighbor Candace Elliott. The show’s hosts were discussing a Bonneville County case that involved allegations of horse abuse and neglect. Elliott called in to comment. Several callers later, Murdock called in, questioning the veracity of Elliott’s statements, and making various claims about the horse meat market and (referring to Elliott) “Andi’s humane society.” Elliott filed suit, alleging that seven of Murdock’s statements defamed her individually and her foundation, For The Love Of Pets, Inc. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Murdock. Elliott appealed, limiting her appeal to the statement, “Andi’s humane society puts .02% of the money they hit everybody up [sic] back into the care of animals,” which she alleged defames both her and her foundation. The Supreme Court found no reversible error in the trial court's judgment in favor of Murdock, and affirmed in all respects. View "Elliott v. Murdock" on Justia Law