Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Wyoming Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellants' motion to intervene in this wrongful death action, holding that heirs of the decedent cannot intervene in a wrongful death action brought by the wrongful death representative.Carrie Linn died after undergoing elective surgery. Carrie's niece, Kallista Mills, was appointed Carrie's wrongful death representative. Mills brought this wrongful death action against Charles Linn, Carrie's husband, alleging that he had negligently caused Carrie's death. One year later, Mills signed a release releasing Charles from all causes asserted against him. Mills and Charles then filed a stipulated motion to dismiss the wrongful death action with prejudice. After the execution of the release but before the filing of the stipulated motion to dismiss, Appellants - Carrie's daughters - filed a motion to intervene in the wrongful death action. Because Appellants did not timely serve counsel the motion, the court dismissed the action with prejudice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that beneficiaries, unless appointed as the wrongful death representative, are precluded from intervening in wrongful death actions. View "Archer v. Mills" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the district court denying Plaintiff's motion to amend and dismissing her survival action against Westview Health Care Center for injuries her deceased father received while in Westview's care, holding that the district court erred in dismissing Plaintiff's survival action.After Plaintiff filed her complaint, she moved to amend the complaint to add a wrongful death claim. The district court denied the motion to amend and dismissed the survival action on the grounds that Plaintiff was not the real party in interest. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying Plaintiff's motion to amend because the wrongful death claim was barred by a two-year condition precedent; and (2) because Westview's motion was untimely, the court erred in dismissing Plaintiff's survival action on the grounds that she was not the real party in interest. View "Gaston v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and dismissed part the judgment of the district court denying summary judgment in favor of the Wyoming State Hospital on Plaintiffs' claims asserting various claims of negligence under the Wyoming governmental Claims Act, Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-39-101 - 120, holding that section 1-30-110's waiver of governmental immunity is not limited to medical malpractice claims.In denying the Hospital's motion for summary judgment, the district court concluded (1) the Hospital had waived its immunity under section 1-39-110, and (2) genuine issues of material fact precluded summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and dismissed in part, holding (1) because it did not involve the purely legal issue of whether the Hospital was immune from suit under the Claims Act, the Hospital's appeal with respect to section 1-39-118 and proximate cause is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; and (2) the district court did not err in concluding that the Hospital had waived its immunity under section 1-39-110. View "Wyoming State Hospital v. Romine" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants in this wrongful death action, holding that Defendants did not owe a common law duty to Tyler Burns, who was killed by a gun stolen from Defendants' home.Tyler Burns was fatally shot by Phillip Sam. Plaintiffs, as personal representatives of Tyler's estate, brought this wrongful death action alleged that Phillip's mother, Dora Sam, and her boyfriend, Roger Davis, (collectively, Defendants) negligently stored the handgun used to kill Tyler. The district court granted summary judgment to Defendants, finding no common law duty. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no duty upon which a negligence claim may be based. View "Burns v. Sam" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court entered on the jury's verdict finding Defendant not negligent, holding that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury verdict.Following a car collision, Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence. During trial, Plaintiff moved for judgment as a matter of law on the issue of Defendant's negligence. The district court reserved its ruling on the motion and gave the case to the jury. The jury found Defendant not negligent, and the court entered judgment on the verdict. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the court acted appropriately in sending the issue of Defendant's negligence to the jury; and (2) the jury could reasonably conclude from the evidence that Defendant failed to meet his burden to establish that Defendant breached his duty of ordinary care under the circumstances. View "Wageman v. Harrell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Plaintiff's complaint against Defendant, a surgeon, alleging that he negligently treated Plaintiff's spinal condition, was barred by the statute of limitations, holding that the district court correctly found that Plaintiff's complaint was untimely filed.In her complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant did not meet the applicable standard of care in his performances of surgeries on her and in her after care. Defendant moved for summary judgment, asserting that the complaint was barred by the applicable statute of limitations, Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-3-107. The district court granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in finding that the statute of limitations expired four days before Plaintiff's complaint was filed. View "Candelaria v. Karandikar" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiffs' complaint under Wyo. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) and (c), holding that the district court did not err.Plaintiffs sued Defendants asserting claims for defamation per se, tortious interference with a prospective economic advantage and business expectancy, and false light invasion of privacy. The district court dismissed all claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiffs did not state claims for defamation per se; (2) Plaintiffs could not recast their second cause of action as a claim for prima facie tort; and (3) Plaintiffs did not state a claim for false light invasion of privacy. View "Bextel v. Fork Road LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court remanded this case to the district court with instructions to determine whether excusable neglect extended Plaintiff's time to file the petition for review of the decision of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) concluding that Plaintiff's infection was not compensable, holding that the record did not reveal whether the district court considered the question of excusable neglect.Plaintiff scraped his knuckle on a locker as he was getting ready to leave a trona mine, where he worked. The scrape developed necrotizing fasciitis, causing serious injuries. The Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division, deemed Plaintiff's injury compensable. The OAH served an order concluding that Plaintiff's injuries were not compensable. The district court reversed, concluding that Plaintiff's infection was compensable. Plaintiff's employer appealed, arguing that the district court lacked jurisdiction because the petition for judicial review was untimely filed. The Supreme Court remanded the case for the limited purpose of determining whether excusable neglect extended the time for filing a petition for review. View "Tata Chemicals Soda Ash Partners, Ltd v. Vinson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court granting Goshen County Fairgrounds summary judgment on its assertion of governmental immunity and dismissing Plaintiff's negligence action, holding that Plaintiff did not establish a genuine issue of material fact that would preclude summary judgment on the basis of the Fairgrounds' immunity.Plaintiff fell at an event held in one of the Goshen County Fairgrounds' buildings. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Goshen county, the State, and the Fairgrounds, alleging negligence. The district court granted summary judgment for the Fairgrounds. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that disputed issues of material fact did not exist so as to preclude summary judgment on the question of whether the Fairgrounds and its employees were negligent in the operation or maintenance of the building. View "Varela v. Goshen County Fairgrounds" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding in favor of Defendant, an anesthesiologist, on Plaintiff's medical negligence claim, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied further investigation into a juror's communication with the court bailiff and that the erroneous admission of testimony regarding Defendant's character for truthfulness was harmless.Plaintiff brought this lawsuit claiming that Defendant negligently performed a regional block procedure in preparation for surgery to repair Plaintiff's broken wrist. After a trial, the jury unanimously found Defendant was not negligent. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the district court erred when it refused to reopen voir dire after a juror spoke with the bailiff and abused its discretion when it allowed a defense witness to testify to Defendant's character for truthfulness. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff's waived her challenge to the participation of the juror at issue, and even if she hadn't, the district court did not abuse its discretion in its treatment of the juror's communication with the bailiff; and (2) the district court abused its discretion in admitting testimony vouching for Defendant's honest character, but this error did not prejudice Plaintiff. View "Lubing v. Tomlinson" on Justia Law