Hestead v. CNA Supply dba Western Surety Co.Annotate this Case
In April and June of 2008, Best of the Best Auto Sales, Inc. purchased seven vehicles from Dealers Auto Auction of Idaho and Brasher's Idaho Auto Auction with checks that were returned for insufficient funds. As a result, Dealers and Brasher refused to provide Best of the Best with the titles to the vehicles. Best of the Best then sold the vehicles to Idaho consumers without providing them with titles. Dealers and Brasher filed claims with CNA Surety d/b/a Western Surety Company which acted as a surety for a "$20,000 Vehicle/Vessel Dealer Bond." Best of the Best was the principal. Upon Best of the Best's failure to provide evidence or defenses for Dealers' and Brasher's claims, Western Surety alleged that it lawfully settled those claims in good faith upon the condition that the consumers received their titles, even though they were not based on final judgments. Plaintiff Nick Hestead submitted his claim, which was based on a final judgment. Plaintiff's claim involved fraud and fraudulent representation concerning a separate vehicle that he purchased from Best of the Best that was previously branded a lemon in California. Western Surety responded by asserting that the Dealer Bond was exhausted. Plaintiff contended that the plain meaning of I.C. 49-1610(4) provides that his claim should be given priority because it was submitted thirty days after a final judgment was entered, unlike Dealers' and Brasher's claims. Western Surety asserted that the plain meaning of I.C. 41-1839(3) permits sureties to settle Dealer Bond claims in good faith. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the payments on the surety bond were lawfully made in good faith pursuant to I.C. 49-1610(1) and I.C. 41-1839(3) because Dealers' and Brasher's claims were undisputed and supported by competent evidence.