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Portia Rauer successfully defended a large Idaho corporation in a wrongful termination claim before the Idaho Human Rights Commission. The claimant alleged that the corporation discharged him because of his age (60) and hired younger, less expensive medical providers to continue with clinic operations. The Commission dismissed the claimant’s case because he failed to show that, but for his age, his employment would not have been terminated.

Ray Powers and Portia Rauer successfully defeated a motion to dismiss brought by a large Idaho hospital in a wrongful death case. The hospital claimed that the plaintiff’s claims were for medical malpractice, thereby requiring dismissal of the case due to the plaintiff’s failure to present her claims to the Idaho State Board of Medicine’s prelitigation screening panel. The court disagreed, holding that the plaintiff’s damages were not caused by the provision of or failure to provide health care, and therefore, were not claims for medical malpractice.
Portia Rauer successfully defended a physician in a medical malpractice action wherein the trial court dismissed the physician from the lawsuit because there was no physician-patient relationship. The patient had previously seen the physician for eye care, but this care was terminated when the patient transferred his care to another facility. Years later, when the patient was in the emergency room for loss of vision, the physician was contacted by the emergency room for an informal consultation. Ms. Rauer successfully argued, and the court held, the informal telephone consultation did not revive the previous physician-patient relationship.
Jim Thomson and Dustin Charters successfully defended an insurance carrier in a bad-faith lawsuit stemming from the carrier’s evaluation of underinsured motorist benefits. The insured alleged the carrier committed bad faith by unreasonably delaying the tender of the amount justly due, failing to tender the amount justly due, and conditioning its payment on the insured signing a release. Following initial discovery, the insured dismissed the bad-faith claim against the carrier.
Ray Powers and Dustin Charters successfully defended a homeowner in a personal injury suit wherein a guest was injured by the homeowner’s animal—a ram. The homeowner presented evidence that the ram had not previously acted in a vicious or dangerous manner and argued that the plaintiff’s inability to show a prior incident was fatal to her claim. The court agreed and held that expert testimony regarding the general propensity of a species or bred was insufficient to overcome a plaintiff’s burden of showing the owner knew or should have known of the domesticated animal’s dangerous propensity.

Jim Thomson and Dustin Charters successfully defended an attorney who served as an appointed personal representative in a probate matter. One of the heirs sued the attorney for alleged fraud and generally claimed she did not receive the amounts she was entitled to in the probate matter. The attorney claimed the heir’s claims were barred pursuant to res judicata. The court agreed and dismissed the suit against the attorney because the claims could and should have been brought in the probate matter and, thus, were barred in a subsequent suit.

On April 22, 2020, Jim Thomson obtained a favorable decision from the Idaho Supreme Court in Walsh v. Swapp Law, PLLC, 166 Idaho 629, 462 P.3d 607 (2020). The Walsh decision reaffirmed the statute of limitations in attorney malpractice cases. The Supreme Court held an action to recover damages for professional malpractice must be commenced within two years after the cause of action has accrued. According to Idaho Code § 5-219(4), the Supreme Court reasoned a legal malpractice claim begins to accrue at the time the negligent act or omission occurs and the former client experiences “some damage.” The Supreme Court also held that “some damage” must be damage that the client could recover from the professional. In doing so, the Supreme Court held that Walsh had suffered some damage more than two years prior to the filing of the suit against her former attorneys, and, therefore, her claims were time-barred.
Jim Thomson and Dustin Charters successfully defended an attorney and law firm in a malpractice action by obtaining summary judgment. The plaintiff claimed the attorney and law firm made misrepresentations in a prior litigation where the plaintiff was also a party. The attorney and law firm argued that the litigation privilege protects attorneys from claims arising in prior lawsuits. The court agreed, holding the past litigation barred plaintiff’s claims because the attorney and firm were acting within the scope of their representation and solely in their client’s interest.
Portia Rauer successfully defended a large Idaho company in federal district court by obtaining summary judgment in a wrongful employment termination claim. The plaintiff made two claims: (1) the Idaho company violated the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) by firing her because she had arthritis, and (2) the Idaho company violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) by firing her because of her age. The company filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that each claim should be dismissed because the plaintiff failed to show she was diagnosed with arthritis as required by the ADA, because she did not perform her job satisfactorily as required by the ADEA, and because the Idaho company had a legitimate basis for termination. The court agreed and dismissed the case against the Idaho company, finding the plaintiff’s arthritis was self-diagnosed and thus, could not serve as the basis for an ADA claim, and further finding the plaintiff failed to adequately prove the elements of her age discrimination claim.
Portia Rauer obtained summary judgment for her clients, a Boise hospital and surgical group, in a medical malpractice lawsuit. A husband and wife brought suit against numerous health care providers, including the hospital and surgical group represented by Ms. Rauer. Plaintiff’s claimed the husband’s spinal surgery was performed negligently. Ms. Rauer moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to adequately plead a claim against both the hospital and the surgical group. She further argued that the plaintiffs failed to produce expert testimony as required by Idaho statute. The court agreed with both arguments, finding that the plaintiffs’ complaint failed to state how the hospital and surgical group were negligent or how they were involved with surgery, thereby granting summary judgment.
Portia Rauer successfully defended an Idaho physician in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Ms. Rauer argued in a motion for summary judgment that the plaintiff’s standard of care expert did not have the necessary knowledge of the applicable standard of health care as required by Idaho statute to proceed. The court agreed, granting Ms. Rauer’s motion and dismissing her client from the lawsuit.
Jim Thomson successfully defended an attorney and law firm in an attorney malpractice suit arising from the representation of the plaintiff in two separate personal injury claims. The plaintiff brought suit against the attorney and law firm, alleging they were negligent in the handling of the plaintiff’s personal injury claims, including the acceptance of an offer relating to the first of the two motor vehicle accidents. The attorney and law firm argued the claims against them were barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The court agreed and held that the plaintiff failed to timely pursue her claim and the claims against the attorney and law firm were time-barred.