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 granting summary judgment in favor of Expert Training, LLC after Plaintiff settled with all other defendants in her personal injury lawsuit, holding that the district court did not err.Plaintiff was injured when she fell from the attic of Sunrise Shopping Center to the floor below. Plaintiff sued the Shopping Center's owner, various property management companies, and Expert Training, the staffing company that provided janitorial and maintenance workers to the Shopping Center. Plaintiff settled with all defendants except Expert Training. The district court subsequently entered summary judgment in favor of Expert Training, finding that Expert Training was not engaged in a joint venture and that it owed no duty to Plaintiff. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly granted summary judgment on Plaintiff's joint enterprise and negligence claims. View "Weir v. Expert Training, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) affirming the denial of Appellant's request for benefits related to her injury, holding that substantial evidence supported the agency's decision.On May 3, 2019, Appellant, a sales associate at Flaming Gorge Harley-Davidson, was moving a motorcycle when her back grabbed and her legs felt weak. On May 6, Appellant was standing in her kitchen and turning slightly to the left when she felt excruciating pain. Appellant filed a claim with the Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division for benefits related to her May 6 injury. The Division denied Appellant her requested benefits. The OAH and the district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the law does not require OAH to reference the "second compensable injury" rule in its decision; and (2) there was substantial evidence to support OAH's conclusion that Appellant failed to prove her May 6 injury was caused by the May 3 injury. View "Boylen v. State, ex rel., Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court dismissing this personal injury lawsuit as untimely, holding that the district court erred in ruling that Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-3-118 did not apply to Plaintiff's voluntary dismissal.On October 20, 2013, Plaintiff brought this lawsuit against Defendant seeking damages for his injuries incurred in an accident with Defendant. On November 1, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion to dismiss the case without prejudice, which the trial court granted. On July 22, 2020, Plaintiff filed a new complaint. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the new action was outside the four-year statute of limitations under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-3-105(a)(iv)(C) and that the claims were untimely under section 1-3-118. The district court granted the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that dismissal was not warranted because section 1-3-118 does not limit its application to dismissals initiated by an opposing party or sua sponte dismissals. View "Hugus v. Reeder" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming the decision of the Medical Commission upholding the denial of Appellant's request for benefits, holding that there was substantial evidence to support the Commission's denial of coverage.In 2007, Appellant suffered a compensable injury to her left knee. More than a decade later, Appellant submitted requests to the Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division to cover treatment for her right knee, ankles and back and further applied for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. The Division denied both requests, and the Commission affirmed the ruling. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that that there was substantial evidence to support the Commission's findings that (1) Appellant's right knee, ankle, and back injuries were not second compensable injuries; and (2) Appellant did not qualify for PTD benefits under the odd lot doctrine. View "Ross v. State, ex rel., Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to the City of Lander and dismissing Plaintiffs' negligence claim on grounds of governmental immunity, holding that the district court erred both procedurally and as a matter of law when it granted summary judgment.Plaintiffs found a bat in their home and called the Animal Control Division of the Lander Police Department. The bat was captured but escaped before it could be tested for rabies. Plaintiffs filed a complaint seeking damages for the cost of the rabies vaccines and mental anguish. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the City. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court procedurally erred when it granted summary judgment on grounds not raised by the parties without giving notice and a time to respond; and (2) the City was not entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law on the undisputed facts of record. View "Cornella v. City of Lander, Wyoming" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Sweetwater County School District No. 1 and dismissing Plaintiff's negligence claim, holding that genuine issues of material fact did not preclude summary judgment in favor of the School District.Plaintiff, through his mother as next friend, brought this action claiming that he suffered a traumatic brain injury when he fell and struck his head on a PVC pipe that had been placed across a concrete walkway outside his elementary school building to divert water away from the building. Plaintiff claimed that the negligent placement of the pipes across the walkway created a dangerous condition, causing his injury. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the School District. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly granted the School District summary judgment. View "Miller v. Sweetwater County School District #1" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming the determination of the Medical Commission Hearing Panel that Scott Triplett failed to meet his burden to show entitlement to a right hip replacement, holding that the Medical Panel's decision was neither arbitrary or capricious.The Medical Panel determined that Triplett did not meet his burden of proof to establish that the hip replacement surgery was a reasonable and necessary medical treatment for any injury related to his work injury. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Medical Panel's determination was supported by substantial evidence and was not arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise contrary to law. View "Triplett v. State, ex rel. Department of Workforce Services" on Justia Law

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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