Articles Posted in Health Law

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Appellant and Appellee were the brother and sister of William Bratton. Appellee was appointed as guardian for William in June 2012. In July 2012, Appellant withdrew $10,000 from a bank account held jointly with Appellee for the benefit of William and transferred the funds to an account held individually by Appellant. Appellant was subsequently ordered to return the funds. Thereafter, Appellee moved to release the funds to a conservatorship account to be administered by Appellee as conservator. The district court ultimately granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err by granting Appellee’s motion to release funds; (2) did not err by vacating the initially scheduled hearing on Appellee’s motion to release funds; and (3) had the authority to rule on the motion to release funds. View "Bratton v. Blenkinsop" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law, Health Law

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Plaintiffs filed a medical malpractice action against the Campbell County Memorial Hospital under the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act (Act), alleging that Amanda Phillips, a certified nurse anesthetist for Northern Plains Anesthesia Associates, which provided anesthesia services for the hospital, acted as an employee or agent of the hospital, making the hospital vicariously liable for Phillips’ alleged negligence. The hospital filed a motion for partial summary judgment, arguing that a government hospital could not be vicariously liable for acts of non-employees or independent contractors under the doctrine of ostensible agency. The district court denied the motion based on Sharsmith v. Hill. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in its interpretation of Sharsmith and that Sharsmith did not create an implied waiver of sovereign immunity under the Act. View "Campbell County Memorial Hosp. v. Pfeifle" on Justia Law

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In 2010, the director of the Wyoming Guardianship Corporation filed a petition for emergency appointment of a temporary guardian for Robert Sands, who was then seventy years old and suffered from dementia and other medical problems. The district court held a guardianship was necessary and appointed Richard Brown as guardian. Sands sought to terminate the guardianship, and the district court denied the petition. Six months later, however, the district court held a review hearing and terminated the guardianship, finding there was no longer a need for the guardianship. Prior to the hearing, Sands filed a complaint against Brown, alleging that Brown had breached his duties. The district court ruled in favor of Brown on Sands' complaint, concluding that Brown substantially complied with the statutes and did not violate his fiduciary duties, and awarded Brown and his attorney fees and costs. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in when it denied Sands' petition to terminate the guardianship, reopened the guardianship for the purpose of awarding fees and costs, and dismissed Sands' complaint against Brown. View "Sands v. Brown" on Justia Law

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After RB, a middle-aged man, was emergently detained as a suicide risk at West Park Hospital, the district court involuntarily hospitalized RB at the Wyoming State Hospital, where he was detoxified of opiates and other controlled substances and eventually stabilized on psychotropic medications. The State Hospital then notified the district court and the county attorney that it intended to discharge RB. The county attorney filed an objection with the district court, claiming a right to a hearing on the merits of the State Hospital's decision. The district court concluded that the county had no standing to object to RB's discharge. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the involuntary hospitalization statutes do not provide authority for a county attorney to object to the proposed discharge of a patient from involuntary civil commitment. View "State v. Wyo. State Hosp." on Justia Law

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Employee slipped and fell while taking out garbage for Employer. Employee was diagnosed with injuries to her right hip, shoulder, and elbow and received workers' compensation benefits for her shoulder injury and an umbilical hernia. After Employee experienced continuing shoulder pain, an MRI and x-rays of Employee's cervical spine were ordered. The Wyoming Worker's Safety and Compensation Division denied Employee reimbursement of the payments for those medical expenses on the grounds that injuries to the cervical spine were not the result of a work-related injury. The Office of Administrative Hearings upheld the Division's decision, and the district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that it was reasonable for the hearing examiner to conclude, based upon substantial evidence in the record, Employee had not met her burden of establishing that, although the condition of her cervical spine may have been causing shoulder pain, any damage to the cervical spine was not a result of her slip and fall. View "Price v. State ex rel. Wyo. Workers' Safety & Comp. Div." on Justia Law

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Defendant William Bruyette was charged with felony possession of marijuana. At trial, he sought to introduce evidence that he obtained the marijuana in California with a prescription for medical marijuana. The district court granted the State's in limine motion to exclude evidence relating to a medical marijuana defense and instructed the jury that possession of medical marijuana was not a defense to the crime charged. The jury convicted defendant of felony possession of marijuana. Defendant appealed, claiming the district court denied him his constitutional right to present his defense. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the question of whether or not defendant had a medical marijuana card from a California physician was irrelevant because it is illegal, under Wyoming law, for a physician to prescribe or order the possession of marijuana. View "Bruyette v. State" on Justia Law