Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s decision affirming the decision of the Medical Commission, which sustained the Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division’s termination of Sarah Morris’s temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. The Division terminated the TTD benefits after determining that Morris had reached maximum medical improvement. The Supreme Court held (1) the Commission appropriately determined that Morris had reached MMI and terminated her TTD benefits; and (2) substantial evidence existed to support the Commission’s decision that Morris’s injury to her right knee was not work-related. View "Morris 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 a complaint brought by the Town of Pine Bluffs alleging that Laramie County illegally taxed a day care center that the Town owned and operated. The Town sought an injunction under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-13-109(c)(i), alleging that the property was used for a governmental purpose and was therefore exempt under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-11-105(a)(v). The district court granted the County’s motion to dismiss, concluding that the Town should have exhausted administrative remedies before resorting to an injunction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 39-13-109(c)(i) did not provide the Town a remedy for an error in assessing the day care center and that it needed to resort to the administrative process instead. View "Town of Pine Bluffs v. Eisele" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Teton County Board of County Commissioners granting Four Shadows, LLC a basic use permit (BUP) to use its property in Teton Village for temporary construction storage/staging. The court held (1) Appellants had an interest that was greater than the general public’s, giving them standing to maintain their appeal as persons aggrieved and adversely affected in fact by the Board’s decision to issue the permit; and (2) the Board’s decision to grant Four Shadows a BUP for temporary use of the property for construction storage/staging was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise contrary to law. View "Tayback v. Teton County Board of County Commissioners" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the Medical Commission’s denial of Dennis Howe’s claim for permanent partial impairment (PPI) benefits for a work-related injury Howe suffered. The district court affirmed the decision of the Commission. In affirming the district court, the Supreme Court held (1) the Commission’s determination that Howe did not prove he was entitled to an increased impairment rating due to the result of chlorine exposure was supported by substantial evidence, and the Commission could have reasonably concluded as it did; and (2) the Commission’s decision was not arbitrary and capricious. View "Howe v. State, ex rel., Department of Workforce Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the Board of Equalization’s decision affirming the ruling of the Wyoming Department of Revenue against PacifiCorp, Inc., which sought a ruling that its purchases of certain chemicals used in the process of generating electricity in coal-fired electrical generation facilities in Wyoming qualified for either the manufacturers’ sales tax exemption or the wholesalers’ sales tax exemption. The court held (1) The Board erred when it concluded that PacifiCorp is not a manufacturer under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-15-105(a)(iii)A); (2) the Board did not err when it held that certain chemicals necessary to treat water and sulfur dioxide emissions during the coal combustion processes that generate electricity are not “used directly” to generate electricity and are therefore not exempt from sales tax under section 39-15-105(a)(iii)(A); and (3) the Board did not err when it held that PacifiCorp’s purchases of certain chemicals and catalysts do not constitute wholesale purchases exempt from taxation under section 39-15-105(a)(iii)(F). View "PacifiCorp, Inc. v. Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s affirmance of the decision of the Medical Commission, which upheld the Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division’s denial of benefits to James Boyce. Boyce suffered an inguinal hernia while working. Boyce received workers’ compensation benefits to cover that injury, but the Division denied benefits for subsequently discovered conditions in Boyce’s lumbar spine. The Supreme Court agreed with the decisions below, holding that the Medical Commission did not act unreasonably or contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence in rejecting the opinion of Boyce’s medical expert and concluding that Boyce failed to prove that his work injury caused his need for subsequent spinal surgery. View "Boyce v. State ex rel. Department of Workforce Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the Medical Commission’s denial of additional temporary total disability benefits to Appellant. The Commission denied benefits after a contested case hearing, concluding that Appellant’s persistent back problems were the result of a preexisting degenerative condition and that Appellant failed to establish an increase in incapacity to a reasonable degree of medical certainty due solely to a work injury. The district court upheld the Commission’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was substantial evidence to support the Commission’s conclusion that Appellant was not entitled to benefits under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 27-14-605; (2) the Commission did not misapply the second compensable injury rule; and (3) there was substantial evidence to support the Commission’s conclusion that Appellant did not suffer a second compensable injury. View "Kebschull v. State ex rel. Department of Workforce Services, Workers’ Compensation Division" on Justia Law

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Employee was terminated from her position as a custodian at a junior high school for stealing or attempting to steal a backpack belonging to a student. The Board of Trustees of Sweetwater County School District No. 1 (Board) upheld Employee’s termination, concluding that there was cause to terminate Employee and there was no prejudice from any claimed defect in the predetermination process. The district court reversed, concluding (1) there was substantial evidence to support the Board’s determination that there was just cause to terminate Employee, but (2) Employee was not provided adequate predetermination process. The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s decision and reinstated the Board’s order upholding the termination, holding that the Board’s decision that Employee received adequate predetermination due process was legally correct and supported by substantial evidence. View "Sweetwater County School District Number One v. Goetz" on Justia Law

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Appellants owned residential property in Teton County. JCFT Wyoming Real Estate, LLC owned two parcels in the same area. The Teton County planning director, at Appellants’ request, issued a formal rule interpretation concerning a development permit associated with the JCFT property. At JCFT’s request, the planning director issued a zoning compliance verification (ZCV) concerning JCFT’s smaller parcel. Appellants appealed the rule interpretation and the ZCV decision. The Teton County Board of County Commissioners dismissed the appeals, concluding that Appellants lacked standing to appeal either action. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellants lacked standing to challenge the Teton County planning director’s rule interpretation and ZCV decision; and (2) neither decision was ripe for judicial review. View "Moose Hollow Holdings, LLC v. Teton County Board of County Commissioners" on Justia Law

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Collateral estoppel is not given effect to an uncontested Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division (Division) determination denying workers’ compensation benefits even when the denial is based on a finding that the employee did not suffer a compensable injury. Lea Porter, through her employer, submitted a report of injury to the Division, by which Porter reporter an injury to her left knee. The Division issued to Porter final determination informing her that it would not approve payments of benefits upon its determination that the injury was not a work-related injury. Porter did not object to the final determination or request a hearing but did object to a later final determination of the Division that denied payment of costs related to an MRI of her left knee. The Office of Administrative Hearings granted summary judgment for the Division, concluding that Porter could not challenge the denial of benefits for the MRI because she did not object to the Division’s earlier determination that her injury was not work related. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Porter’s failure to object to the Division’s compensability determination did not preclude her objection to the Division’s final determination denying benefits to cover her MRI costs. View "Porter v. State ex rel. Department of Workforce Services" on Justia Law