Articles Posted in Wyoming Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants on Plaintiff’s complaint claiming fraud, negligent misrepresentation, conversion, and civil conspiracy, holding that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claims. Plaintiff, Action Snowmobile & RV, Inc. (Action), filed this complaint against Defendants, Most Wanted Performance, LLC and one of its owners (collectively, Most Wanted) regarding the circumstances under which Most Wanted purchased Action. The district court concluded that Action had failed to provide any evidence that would support the claims in the complaint and, therefore, granted summary judgment for Most Wanted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that summary judgment was properly granted in favor of Most Wanted because Most Wanted presented a prima facie showing that there were no genuine issues of material fact regarding any of the claims in Action’s complaint and Action failed to produce competent and admissible evidence demonstrating that any material facts were in dispute. View "Action Snowmobile & RV, Inc. v. Most Wanted Performance, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to Defendants in this negligence action, holding that there were no genuine issues of material fact as to the issues on appeal. Skylar Dimick was injured when he fell into a septic tank on property owned by Scott Hopkinson. Dimick and his wife filed a negligence action against Hopkinson and his businesses, family trust, and wife, Chris Hopkinson. Plaintiffs sought punitive damages for Defendants’ alleged willful and wanton misconduct. The district court granted summary judgment to Defendants, concluding (1) Scott and his businesses were protected by a valid release of liability signed by Dimick, (2) Scott committed no willful and wanton acts, (3) Chris was neither a proximate cause of Dimick’s injuries nor engaged in a joint venture with Scott, and (4) the family trust did not exist. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly granted summary judgment as to all Defendants. View "Dimick v. Hopkinson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court affirming the decision of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) concluding that the Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division (Division) had properly terminated Appellant’s temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. The Division terminated Appellant’s TTD benefits after determining that Appellant had reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and suffered an ascertainable loss. After a contested case hearing, the OAH concluded that the Division had properly ceased paying TTD benefits. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the OAH properly applied the relevant legal principals in reviewing the Division’s decision to terminate Appellant’s TTD benefits, and the OAH’s decision was supported by substantial evidence. View "Coggins v. State ex rel., Department of Workforce Services" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff violated its duty under Wyo. R. Civ. P. 26 to provide its computation of damages and the documents supporting its damages claim to Defendant, and therefore, the district court abused its discretion by admitting Plaintiff’s damages evidence at trial. Plaintiff filed suit claiming that Defendant and his daughter improperly interfered with a business relationship of Plaintiff. The district court granted judgment in favor of Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed and directed that judgment be entered in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s claims, holding that the district court’s finding that Plaintiff had suffered $25,000 per month for ten months in damages was clearly erroneous. View "Downs v. Homax Oil Sales, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s complaint against Defendant asserting claims for defamation per se and injunctive relief, although on grounds different from those expressed by the district court. Plaintiff filed her claims against Defendant after Defendant made statements critical of Plaintiff’s performance as Superintendent of Public Instruction. The district court concluded that Defendant’s statements implicated First Amendment concerns and dismissed the complaint for failure to allege facts sufficient to support the constitutionally-required showing of actual malice. The Supreme Court affirmed, albeit on different grounds, holding (1) the district court properly found that Plaintiff was a public official for First Amendment purposes; (2) the complaint stated facts sufficient to support a claim for actual malice; but (3) the complaint failed to allege facts sufficient to state a claim for defamation per se, and on that ground, the Supreme Court upheld the district court’s dismissal. View "Hill v. Stubson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants in this wrongful death action, holding that there were disputed issues of material fact that precluded the district court’s entry of summary judgment. Plaintiff, on behalf of the estate of the decedent, brought this action against a commercial trucking company and two of its drivers, alleging that the drivers illegally and negligently parked a semi tractor-trailer in an I-80 emergency lane, causing the vehicle the decedent was driving to collide with the tractor-trailer and the decedent to suffer immediately fatal injuries. Defendants asserted that they were entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law because Plaintiff did not prove that parking on the shoulder of the highway caused the decedent to lose control of his vehicle. The district court granted the motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court did not apply the proper standard and that Plaintiff must prove instead that the act of parking on the shoulder of an interstate highway created a reasonably foreseeable increased risk of injury to the decedent. Accordingly, the proximate cause issue should be resolved by the jury. View "Wood v. CRST Expedited, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the decision of the district court granting summary judgment to Anethesiology Consultants of Cheyenne, LLC (ACC) on its breach of fiduciary duty claim and on Dr. Ronald Stevens’ defamation counterclaim. ACC filed suit against Dr. Stevens and Cassandra Rivers alleging nine causes of action. Dr. Stevens counterclaimed against the members of ACC, alleging several causes of action, including defamation. The district court granted summary judgment for ACC on its first three causes of action and granted summary judgment for the counterclaims defendants on all of Dr. Stevens’ counterclaims. On appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) summary judgment was improperly granted on the fiduciary duties claims; (2) summary judgment was properly granted on the defamation counterclaim; and (3) the trial court erred in excluding certain email evidence. View "Stevens v. Anesthesiology Consultants of Cheyenne, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Appellants’ complaint against a school district and school district employees (collectively, Appellees), holding that Appellees were immune from suit under the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act, Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-39-101 through 1-39-121. Appellants filed this action alleging that the school district employees had committed various torts against them, that the school district was liable for the employees’ actions under the doctrine of respondeat superior, and that the school district had committed direct acts of negligence. The district court dismissed the case under Wyo. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellants did not properly allege that the school district employees acted outside the scope of their duties, and therefore, the district court did not err by dismissing Appellants’ claims against the employees; (2) this Court rejects Appellants’ request to recognize an exception to immunity for violation of school policy and/or criminal conduct; and (3) Appellants’ remaining argument was without merit. View "Whitham v. Feller" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court ruling that governmental immunity barred Plaintiffs’ claims against the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), the City of Riverton (City), and their employees. Plaintiffs’ seven-year-old child was killed after being struck by a vehicle in a crosswalk on her way home from school. The driver of the vehicle held a valid Wyoming driver’s license even though she could not have passed the eye exam, which was administered by a WYDOT employee. Plaintiffs sued the WYDOT, the City, Fremont County School District No. 25, and employees of those governmental entities. The district court dismissed the claims against the school district and its employees and that governmental immunity barred the claims against the remaining defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the WYDOT’s performance of eye exams does not constitute a public service for which governmental immunity has been waived under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-39-108; and (2) the City was not a public utility providing public services for which governmental immunity has been waived under section 1-39-108 when it provided the marked street crossing where the child was struck. View "Archer v. State ex rel. Wyoming Department of Transportation" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court dismissing SH’s complaint against the Campbell County School District seeking to recover damages for injuries she received when she slipped and fell on a school playground. SH, who received special education services in accordance with an Individual Education Plan (IEP), claimed that the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act did not bar her suit against the school district because the IEP was a contract, and therefore, the Act’s exception to immunity for contract claims applied. The district court found that the IEP was not a contract and, accordingly, there was no exception to governmental immunity under the Act. The Supreme Court agreed, holding (1) the IEP is not a contract; and (2) the IEP therefore does not create an exception to the School District’s governmental immunity. View "SH v. Campbell County School District" on Justia Law