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 affirming the decision of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) upholding the denial of Appellant's application to the Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits, holding that the OAH's decision was not contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence. After Appellant injured his back the Division awarded him temporary benefits. When several years had passed without relief from his pain, Appellant appleid for PPD benefits. The Division denied Appellant's application. The OAH upheld the Division's denial of PPD benefits, concluding that Appellant failed to prove his work injury was the cause of his inability to return to employment and failed to prove that he timely filed his PPD application. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the OAH correctly calculated the limitations period under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 27-14-405(h)(ii); and (2) there was substantial evidence to support the OAH's conclusion that Appellant failed to prove that his injury was the cause of his inability to return to work. View "Camacho v. State, ex rel. Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Accessible Space, Inc. (ASI) and dismissing Plaintiffs' claim that ASI was negligent in failing to protect them from Larry Rosenberg's criminal action, holding that ASI did not have a common law duty to protect Plaintiffs from Rosenberg's unforeseeable criminal action. Appellants were living in a senior living apartment complex owned and operated by ASI when Rosenberg, a fellow tenant, shot them with a .22 caliber rifle. Appellants filed suit against ASI alleging negligence and asserting that ASI, as a landlord, had a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect them from Rosenberg's criminal action. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of ASI. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err by concluding that ASI did not owe Plaintiffs a duty to protect them from Rosenberg's criminal action; and (2) even if ASI failed sufficiently to address Rosenberg's complaints, ASI's actions were not the proximate cause of Plaintiffs' injuries. View "Warwick v. Accessible Space, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court entering partial summary judgment against Rex Rammell on all his claims against his former employer, Mountainaire Animal Clinic, P.C., its president, and its office manager except Rammell's breach of express contract claim and then dismissing that claim as a sanction for willful obstruction of discovery and fraud upon the court, holding that the district court did not err. Specifically, the Court held (1) deficiencies in Rammell's certification did not mandate dismissal of his appeal; (2) defects in Rammell's notice of appeal did not mandate dismissal; (3) the district court did not err in entering summary judgment against Rammell on his tortious interference claim; and (4) the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing Rammell's breach of express contract claim as a sanction for discovery violations. View "Rammell v. Mountainaire Animal Clinic, P.C." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants, three professionals, on Plaintiff’s claims of malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, and conversion arising out of conservatorship and divorce proceedings, holding that the district court did not err. Defendants were Plaintiff’s conservator and counsel during the divorce proceedings. After the divorce concluded, Defendant filed this lawsuit alleging conversion, professional malpractice, and breach of fiduciary duty. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) collateral estopped precluded Plaintiff from prevailing on his conversion claim; and (2) the district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants on the malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty claims. View "Tozzi v. Moffett" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s complaint alleging negligence and violations of 42 U.S.C. 1983 after Linda Gelok was injured after being left unattended for twenty-five hours at the Wyoming State Hospital (WSH), holding that the complaint alleged sufficient facts to state a claim for relief under 42 U.S. C. 1983 against Paul Mullenax, WSH Administrator, in his individual capacity. On behalf of Linda Gelok, an involuntarily committed incompetent person, Plaintiff sued the WSH, the Wyoming Department of Health, and Mullenax, WSH Administrator, in his official and individual capacities, alleging negligence and violation of her constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The district court dismissed the negligence action as time-barred. As to the constitutional claims, the district court found that the WSH, the Department, and Mullenax in his official capacity were entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity and that Mullenax was entitled to qualified immunity in his individual capacity. The Supreme Court held (1) Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-3-107 barred Plaintiff’s negligent health care claim; (2) the district court properly dismissed Plaintiff’s 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims against most defendants; but (3) Plaintiff’s complaint alleged sufficient facts to state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against Mullenax in his individual capacity. View "Wyoming Guardianship Corp. v. Wyoming State Hospital" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Medical Commission approving John Lysne’s worker’s compensation claim seeking coverage for knee replacement surgery, holding that the Commission’s finding that Lysne’s work injury caused his need for knee replacement surgery was supported by substantial evidence and not contrary to law. On appeal, the Workers’ Compensation Division argued that Lysne did not provide adequate proof that his need for knee replacement surgery was causally related to his work injury. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that there was substantial evidence to support the Commission’s finding of causation and the Commission’s rejection of contrary medical evidence that the workplace injury was not causally related to Lysne’s requested surgery. View "State ex rel. Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division v. Lysne" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Medical Commission upholding the decision of the Department of Workforce Services, Workers’ Compensation Division (the Division) denying benefits for Appellant’s back surgery, holding that substantial evidence supported the Medical Commission’s (the Commission) determination that the procedure was “alternative medicine” for which benefits were properly denied. Appellant underwent artificial disc replacement to treat her work-related back injury. The Division denied compensation for the jury, finding that it was not reasonable and necessary medical treatment because the artificial disc and surgical procedure had not been approved by the FDA and because Appellant had not presented sufficient objective medical support for their use. The Commission affirmed the Division’s denial of compensation, determining that the procedure was an “off-label” use of medical services and “alternative medicine” for which Appellant did not prove adequate support. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission erred in determining that implantation of non-FDA-approved artificial discs at adjacent levels of the lumbar spine was an “off-label” use of medical services; but (2) substantial evidence supported the Commission’s determination that Appellant failed to provide sufficient documentation of the procedure’s safety and effectiveness, rending it “alternative medicine” for which benefits were properly denied. View "Harborth v. State, ex rel., Department of Workforce Services, Workers’ Compensation Division" on Justia Law

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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