Supreme Court favors county in appeal

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Bonner County is declaring a complete victory in its legal battle with SilverWing following an Idaho Supreme Court ruling in its favor.

In its decision, the Idaho Supreme Court agreed with the county’s legal team that it fulfilled all promises to SilverWing, which sued the county for millions over alleged broken promises involving the development of a fly-in community located next to Sandpoint Airport.

“By the time of trial, the County fully performed the promises that SilverWing alleges were made; those promises were never broken,” the court stated in its decision.

It’s the latest development in a legal conflict that has ping-ponged between various courtrooms for years, culminating in a five-day jury trial that awarded SilverWing $250,000. In response, the county filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, which a judge can issue if he or she finds a jury decision unreasonable. When the district court denied the motion, the county appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court.

In a decision issued Feb. 26, the court determined that the case hinged on whether “SilverWing suffered a substantial economic detriment due to its reliance on the county’s promises.” On this point, they sided with the county, reversing the denial of their motion and remanding the issue for a redetermination of costs and fees.

“Five out of five justices of the Idaho Supreme Court agree that the county fulfilled all of its alleged promises and that the county is entitled to judgment as a matter of law,” said Paul Fraidenburgh, an aviation attorney who represented the county, in a statement. “We are thrilled to have won yet another significant victory for this public airport.”

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