Justia Wyoming Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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In this action brought by Plaintiff seeking to collect on a promissory note the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendants' motions to dismiss and granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff, holding that the district court did not err in its rulings. Defendants executed the promissory note in Idaho and delivered it to Plaintiffs in payment for real estate located in Idaho. The note was originally secured by a deed of trust in the property. Plaintiff later sued Defendants in the district court in Teton County, Wyoming seeking to collect on the note. Defendants filed motions to dismiss on the basis that the Wyoming district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and the lawsuit was time barred. The district court denied the motions to dismiss and granted Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) under the circumstances of this case, the district court had subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction over Defendants; (2) the district court properly applied the correct Idaho statute of limitations; and (3) the district court did not err in awarding interest, attorney's fees and costs to Plaintiff. View "Woodie v. Whitesell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this case arising from an ongoing juvenile court action involving three minor children and their mother, holding that the juvenile court lost jurisdiction over one of the children, BG, when BG turned eighteen years old because the requirements of Wyo. Stat. Ann. 14-3-431(b) were not met. When BG was fifteen, the juvenile court placed Mother's three children in the custody of the Department of Family Services and adjudicated Mother neglectful. While the Department began pursuing a permanency plan of adoption/guardianship for the three children, BG turned eighteen. The juvenile court, however, continued to issue orders as though the Department retained custody over BG. Mother argued that, under section 14-3-431(b), a review hearing should have taken place six months before BG's eighteenth birthday for the court to retain jurisdiction over her, and because a review hearing did not take place the court lacked jurisdiction over BG. The juvenile court held that its jurisdiction over BG had not terminated. The Supreme Court disagreed and dismissed this action, holding that the juvenile court's jurisdiction over BG terminated when she reached eighteen years of age because the court did not fulfill the requirements of section 14-3-431(b). View "RH v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of attempted sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, holding that errors in the jury instructions and any deficiencies in defense counsel's performance associated with the instructions were not prejudicial. Specifically, the Court held (1) the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to convict Defendant of attempted sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree; (2) the jury instructions on the elements of attempted sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree were incorrect; (3) it was unnecessary to discuss in detail whether defense counsel's performance in addressing the jury instructions was deficient; and (4) Defendant was not prejudiced by incorrect jury instructions and/or his counsel's deficient performance because the State presented overwhelming showing Defendant was guilty of the crime. View "Weston v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court revoking Defendant's probation and imposing sentence, holding that the district court had authority to revoke Defendant's probation and did not abuse its discretion when it revoked Defendant's probation. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court lacked the authority to revoke his probation because the probation violation did not occur during the probationary period, as required by Wyo. Stat. 7-13-305(c) and, even if the court had the authority, it abused its discretion because there was no evidence supporting a finding that Defendant violated the probation condition willfully. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the phrase "probation period" encompasses the time during which a sentence is suspended and the time during which probation is being served; and (2) the district court could reasonably infer from the facts that Defendant willfully violated the term of his probation. View "Sena v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of stalking, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. 62-506(b) and (e)(I), holding that Defendant's First Amendment right to free speech was not violated when he was prosecuted for writing absence letters to the victim. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) Defendant's right to free speech under the First Amendment was not violated when the State prosecuted him under section 6-2-506 for sending obscene letters to the victim, and the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's conclusion that the letters were obscene under the ordinary meaning of that term; (2) the district court did not err in instructing the jury or by refusing Defendant's request for a special verdict form; (3) the State presented sufficient evidence to establish that Defendant harassed the victim; and (4) the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence that Defendant had been warned not to send unsolicited letters. View "Dugan v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of one count of felony theft, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction and that the court's order contained sufficient finding of a common scheme. Defendant renovated a home and used the materials separately purchased by homeowners as a reduction to his bid price. Defendant later took the materials to a retailer and, in two separate transactions, returned them for more than $1000. The district court convicted Defendant of one count of felony theft. On appeal, Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to establish that he intentionally stole the materials and that the district court erred when it failed explicitly to find that the items were stolen pursuant to a "common scheme or the same transaction" under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 6-3-410 when it aggregated the value of the stolen property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction; and (2) the district court made the necessary finding of a common scheme, and its finding was not clearly erroneous. View "Gore v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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In these appeals from the district court's order affirming in part and reversing and remanding in part the decision of the Wyoming Board of Medicine suspending Dr. Rebecca Painter's physician's license the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals for want of jurisdiction holding that the district court's order was not an appealable order under Wyo. R. App. P. 1.05. For violations of various provisions of the Medical Practice Act, Wyo. Stat. Ann. 33-26-101 through 703, the Board suspended Dr. Painter's physician's license for a minimum of five years, fined her $15,000, and ordered her to pay one-half of the costs of the proceedings. The district court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that there was insufficient evidence that Dr. Painter violated some of the provisions for which her license was suspended. The court also reversed and remanded the Board's decision assessing Dr. Painter one-half of the costs of the proceedings. Dr. Painter appealed, and the Board filed a cross-appeal. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeals, holding that the district court's order was not a final appealable order. View "McGill v. Painter" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Wyoming Board of Equalization affirming the determination of the Department of Revenue that Delcon Partners, LLC's purchase of a portion of Delcon, Inc's tangible and intangible assets was not exempt from sales tax, holding that the Department correctly concluded that the transaction was not excluded from the definition of "sale" under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-15-101(a)(vii)(N) and was subject to sales tax. Delcon Partners purchased twenty-eight percent of Delcon, Inc's assets. The Department determined that the transaction was not exempt from sales tax because Delcon Partners did not purchase at least eighty percent of the total value of the assets, including cash and accounts receivable. The Board affirmed. Delcon appealed, arguing that section 39-15-101(a)(vii)(N) should be interpreted to require only a purchase of eighty percent of a seller's tangible personal property rather than eighty percent of its total Wyoming assets. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statute plainly conditions exclusion from the definition of "sale" on the purchase of at least eighty percent of the value of all of a business entity's assets located in Wyoming, which did not happen in this case. View "Delcon Partners LLC v. Wyoming Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court remanded this workers compensation case with instructions to determine whether excusable neglect extended Petitioner's time to file a petition for review of the determination of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) that Petitioner's bacterial infection was not compensable, holding that the district court's decision letter did not address whether excusable neglect extended the time Petitioner had to file his petition for review. Thirty-five days after the OAH concluded that Petitioner's infection was not compensable Petitioner filed a petition for review in the district court. The district court reversed the OAH order. On appeal, Petitioner's employer argued that the district court lacked jurisdiction because the petition was filed one day past the deadline. The Supreme Court remanded the case because the record did not reveal whether the district court considered the question of 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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In this case concerning the "beneficial owner" of Alderney Investments, LLC after Rudolf Skowronski, who controlled the company, disappeared, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court entering judgment in favor of Edyta Skowronska, holding that sufficient evidence supported the jury's finding that Edyta and two of her minor children were ninety percent beneficial owners of Alderney. After Rudolf disappeared, conflicting purported transfers of interest in Alderney, a Wyoming limited liability company, led to disputes over the beneficial owner of the company. Management Nominees, Inc. (MNI-Belize) and Alderney (collectively, Appellants) claimed that Rudolf's brother-in-law was the beneficial owner and that MNI-Belize was its sole member. The jury reached a verdict in favor of Edyta, Rudolf's wife. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) sufficient evidence supported the jury's conclusion that Edyta and two of her children were the beneficial owners of ninety percent of Alderney; (2) the district court did not err in declining to enter judgment as a matter of law that MNI-Belize is the sole member of Alderney; and (3) the district court did not err in declining to enter judgment as a matter of law that Edyta was disqualified from participating in Alderney's management. View "Management Nominees, Inc. v. Skowronska" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law