Articles Posted in Government Law

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Mountain Regional Services, Inc. (MRSI), which provides services to individuals who receive medical benefits administered by the Wyoming Department of Health, filed a petition seeking judicial review of a “Provider Bulletin” issued by the Department concerning these benefits. The district court dismissed the petition for lack of ripeness and because MRSI failed to exhaust its administrative remedies before seeking judicial review. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly concluded that the matter was not ripe for judicial review, and (2) therefore, it was unnecessary to consider the issue of exhaustion of administrative remedies.View "Mountain Reg’l Servs., Inc. v. State ex rel., Dep’t of Health" on Justia Law

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In April 2011, Appellant was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and pleaded guilty to DUI. The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) did not notify Appellant until August 2012 that he would be disqualified from using his commercial driver’s license for one year and that his driver’s license would be suspended for ninety days. The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) upheld the suspension and disqualification. Appellant filed a petition for judicial review, challenging the proceedings instituted nearly a year and a half after his DUI conviction. The district court affirmed the OAH decisions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the administrative proceedings were promptly instituted as required by Wyo. Stat. Ann. 16-3-113; and (2) Appellant did not establish that the delay deprived him of procedural due process. View "Dubbelde v. State ex. rel. Dep’t of Transp." on Justia Law

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In 2004, Appellant fell while working and strained her back. Appellant was awarded worker’s compensation benefits. In 2009, Appellant slipped and fell at work and injured her ankle. In 2010, Appellant sought temporary total disability and medical pay benefits from the Workers Compensation Division, which denied Appellant’s requests. After a contested case hearing, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) upheld the Division’s denial of Appellant’s request for benefits, concluding Appellant did not meet her burden of proving that she suffered aggravation of a preexisting back condition as a result of a work related injury or that she suffered a second compensable injury. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the OAH did not err by failing to find a causal connection between the 2009 workplace incident and Appellant’s delayed back pain. View "Hirsch v. State ex rel. Wyo. Workers' Safety & Comp. Div." on Justia Law

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After conducting a compliance examination of CalCon Mutual Mortgage Corporation (“CalCon”) the Wyoming Department of Audit, Division of Banking (“Division”) determined that CalCon had violated the Wyoming Residential Mortgage Practices Act in six separate brokering transactions by receiving application fees and “yield spread premiums” exceeding those previously disclosed to its customers. The Division requested that CalCon refund the application fees and yield spread premiums to the borrowers. CalCon objected and requested a contesting case hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings (“OAH”). The OAH determined that CalCon had violated the Act. The State Banking Commissioner subsequently issued a final order directing CalCon to reimburse the fees. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commissioner properly interpreted Wyo. Stat. Ann. 40-23-114 in determining that CalCon was required to provide a written explanation of increased application fees and yield spread premiums in the transactions at issue. View "Calcon Mut. Mortgage Corp. v. State ex rel. Wyo. Dep’t of Audit, Div. of Banking" on Justia Law

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The Wyoming Department of Revenue (Department) directed Appellants, on-line travel companies (OTCs), to collect and remit taxes on the total amounts they collected from customers booking hotel rooms in Wyoming. The State Board of Equalization (SBOE) upheld the order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the SBOE did not err in finding that the full amount paid by a customer to the OTCs for a reservation of a hotel room in Wyoming was taxable to the Department; (2) the Department’s imposition of sales tax on the full amount collected by the OTCs did not violate the Dormant Commerce Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, or the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution as applied to the OTCs; and (3) the imposition of the sales tax did not violate the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act.View "Travelocity.com LP v. Wyo. Dep’t of Revenue" on Justia Law

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Robert Carson and his passenger, Hugh Sharp, were involved in a car accident in which Carson sustained multiple injuries and Sharp was killed. Carson filed a claim for worker’s compensation benefits. The Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation Division denied benefits, finding that Carson’s injuries did not arise out of and in the course of his employment with Metrocities Mortgage, LLC. The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) upheld the denial of Carson’s claim. Meanwhile, Sharp’s widow filed a wrongful death action against Carson and Metrocities. After a trial, a federal jury entered judgment against Metrocities under the theory of respondeat superior, concluding that Carson was acting within the course of scope of his employment when the accident occurred. On the basis of the federal judgment, Carson submitted a motion to reopen his claim with the OAH, contending that there was newly discovered evidence he was acting within the course of his employment at the time of the accident. The OAH eventually affirmed its earlier decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the OAH did not err when it failed to apply collateral estoppel to the issue of whether Carson was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of his injury.View "Carson v. State ex rel., Wyo. Workers' Safety & Comp. Div." on Justia Law

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In 2013, Bryan Skoric, the Park County Attorney, reconsidered the extent of his office’s participation in civil commitment proceedings and decided not to continue to participate in emergency detention hearings under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 25-10-109 or to appear and prosecute the case in chief at involuntary hospitalization hearings under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 25-10-110. Appellants, the West Park Hospital District and Yellowstone Behavioral Health Center, filed a petition for writ of mandamus asking the district court to compel Skoric to proceed in the same way as he had in the past. The district court denied Appellants’ application for the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the statutes in question do require a county attorney’s office to participate in civil commitment proceedings; but (2) the statutes are ambiguous, and therefore, extraordinary relief was not warranted when Appellants filed their petition. View "State ex rel. West Park Hosp. Dist. v. Skoric" on Justia Law

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In 2007, Appellant suffered a work-related injury to his right hip. In 2009, the Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation Division denied Appellant’s requests for testing and treatment of pain in his back on the grounds that the requests were unrelated to Appellant’s work injury. The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) reversed and ordered that one additional test be performed to determine whether Appellant’s back problems were associated with his work injury. After the results of the test came back normal, the hearing examiner ordered that Appellant was not entitled to further benefits for his back. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) substantial evidence supported the OAH decision that Appellant did not satisfy his burden of proving additional testing and treatment of his back were related to his work injury; but (2) future treatment associated with the original hip injury could be submitted for administrative review.View "Delacastro v. State ex rel., Wyo. Workers' Safety & Comp. Div." on Justia Law

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Appellant received worker’s compensation benefits in 1996 and 2004 for work-related injuries to his back. In 2008 and 2011, Appellant underwent surgeries to treat a herniated disc in his low back. The Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division denied Appellant’s application for benefits to cover the two surgeries and any other expenses incurred after 2005. On appeal, Appellant contended that the herniated disc was a direct result of his 1996 and 2004 injuries and was therefore a second compensable injury. The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) upheld the Division’s denial of benefits. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the OAH’s decision upholding the denial of benefits was supported by substantial evidence and not contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence.View "Bodily v. State ex rel. Wyo. Workers' Safety & Comp. Div." on Justia Law

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Recently-adopted regulations required companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing to disclose the chemical compounds used in the process to the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Appellants sought from the Commission disclosure of certain chemicals used in several companies’ hydraulic fracturing products. The Commission Supervisor refused to disclose the information, concluding that it was exempt from public disclosure as trade secrets under the Wyoming Public Records Act (WPRA). Appellants sought review of the Supervisor’s decision. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding (1) the district court did not have the authority to evaluate the Supervisor’s decision using an administrative standard of review, and rather, should have used the procedures specified in the WPRA; and (2) the definition of a trade secret under the WPRA is the one articulated by federal courts under the Freedom of Information Act. View "Powder River Basin Res. Council v. Wyo. Oil & Gas Conservation Comm’n" on Justia Law