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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court denying Father’s petition to modify the order granting Mother primary custody of the parties' children, holding that the district court abused its discretion by determining that Father had demonstrated a material change in circumstances to justify re-opening the governing custody and visitation order. The district court concluded that Father had not established a material change in circumstances because there was little to no evidence that the children’s welfare was affected by Mother’s alleged instability in her life and poor decision-making. The Supreme Court remanded this case to the district court to determine whether modification of the custody and visitation order was in the best interests of the parties’ two daughters, holding (1) a court need not wait until the children exhibit negative consequences before reconsidering custody and/or visitation; and (2) where there was significant evidence of Mother’s continued instability and poor decision-making and the parties’ inability to make the current custody/visitation arrangement work, there was a material change of circumstances. View "Jacobson v. Kidd" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family 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 district court affirming the Medical Commission Hearing Panel’s decision the Workers’ Compensation Division’s denial of permanent total disability benefits for a back injury Pete Hart sustained at work, holding (1) the district court appropriately remanded the claim to the Medical Commission, rather than simply reversing and awarding benefits, for further findings of fact and conclusions of law; and (2) the Medical Commission’s conclusion that Hart failed to demonstrate his disability was caused by his work-related back injury was supported by substantial evidence in the record. View "Hart 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 dismissal of Plaintiff’s declaratory judgment action against the Laramie County Clerk asking that a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL) be declared invalid and the NFTL be removed from Plaintiff’s property record, holding that the complaint failed to state a cognizable claim. In 2007, the IRS filed the NFTL at issue against real property owned by Plaintiff. In 2017, Plaintiff filed this action. The district court dismissed the complaint, determining that it was barred by the applicable statute of limitations and that it failed to state a claim for which relief may be granted under Wyo. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The Supreme Court affirmed after finding a single issue as dispositive, holding that the district court did not err in dismissing the complaint for failure to state a claim because a county clerk has no authority or discretion to consider the underlying basis for a federal tax lien or notice of lien, or to declare the invalidity of the lien, which is the relief Plaintiff sought. View "Tuttle v. Lee" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Defendants in this quiet title action challenging the enforceability of a plat restriction that barred Plaintiffs’ use of a portion of their own property. Plaintiffs owned Lot 8 in a subdivision. Defendants owned Lot 7. The plat restriction at issue in this case barred Plaintiffs’ use of a portion of Lot 8 and gave exclusive use of and responsibility for that property to Defendants. The district court concluded that the plat restriction contained in the subdivision’s recorded plat created an enforceable covenant appurtenant to Lot 8. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the plat restriction did not fail for lack of definition; (2) Plaintiffs’ challenges to the enforceability of the plat restriction on public policy grounds failed; and (3) there was no impediment in an access easement to the enforceability of the plat restriction. View "Reichert v. Daugherty" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Appellant’s motion filed under Wyo. R. App. P. 21 to withdraw his no contest pleas based on ineffective assistance of counsel, holding that the advice from Defendant’s fourth trial counsel as to whether Defendant could challenge his convictions after pleas of no contest did not render Defendant’s pleas involuntary. Defendant plead no contest to one count of possession with intent to deliver marijuana and one count of felony possession of marijuana. In his Rule 21 motion, Defendant claimed that his counsel incorrectly advised him he could pursue claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and violation of his right to a speedy trial in an appeal if he entered a no contest plea, rendering his plea involuntary. The district court denied the motion, finding that Defendant did not meet his burden of showing that, but for his counsel’s erroneous advice, Defendant would have insisted on going to trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in determining that Defendant failed to establish he was prejudiced by the erroneous advice of his trial counsel. View "Miller v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Appellant’s declaratory judgment claim challenging a codicil to Patricia Ann Britain’s will, holding that Appellant’s challenges to the codicil could not be brought through a declaratory judgment action. Appellant, the personal representative of Patricia’s estate, brought this action alleging that Patricia was not competent to execute the codicil at issue because she did not have the capacity to execute the codicil or acted under undue influence. The district court dismissed the declaratory judgment action, concluding that the personal representative of an estate was not entitled to maintain a declaratory judgment action to challenge a will codicil on the grounds that the testator lacked capacity and/or was unduly influenced. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly dismissed the action because a will contest is the exclusive method of testing the validity of a will when there are questions about the testator’s competence or questions about undue influence. View "Britain v. Britain" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of two counts of strangulation of a household member, holding that the prosecutor did not commit misconduct during closing argument. On appeal, Defendant argued (1) the prosecutor’s repeated use of the “golden rule” argument subverted the objectivity of the jury and materially prejudiced him, and (2) the prosecutor’s repeated reference to the complaining witness as the “victim,” referring to the defense theory as “victim blaming,” and referring to what the defendant did not say to police resulted in cumulative error, materially prejudicing him. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the prosecutor did not make improper golden rule arguments during her closing argument and did not otherwise commit misconduct. Therefore, there was no cumulative error. View "Buszkiewic v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Taco John’s International, Inc. (TJI), concluding that TJI properly terminated Plaintiffs, two corporate executives, for violating their employment agreements. Plaintiffs brought this action asserting breach of the employment agreements and seeking damages in excess of $1 million each. The district court granted summary judgment for TJI. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the undisputed facts showed that Plaintiffs breached the employment agreements by forming a new company while still employed as senior executives at TJI and pursuing a franchise opportunity unrelated to TJI; (2) the employment agreements unambiguously prohibited Plaintiffs from forming a new company and seeking other franchise opportunities while employed by TJI, and therefore, TJI properly terminated Plaintiffs’ employment for cause; and (3) TJI’s president and chief executive officer did not have apparent authority to allow Plaintiffs’ participation in a business venture unrelated to TJI and contrary to the terms of their employment agreements. View "Eby v. Taco John's International, Inc." 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